Yesterday, Sara Jenkins talked to Fork in the Road about Porsena, the pasta spot she’ll open a couple of blocks from Porchetta once permits clear. She says she plans to eschew seasonal dishes (“It’s fun and exciting to do that as a cook, but in some ways there’s something to be said for doing the same thing well over and over”), overly fussy cooking (“Personally, I love pasta and tomato sauce … The best [Italian] restaurant is the one that makes pasta that tastes like what your mom cooked at home”), and painstaking authenticity (“What I kind of object to is people trying to replicate Italy. Or Hanoi, for that matter. We’re not in Italy, we’re not in Hanoi, we’re in New York”). Today she continues the conversation with Fork in the Road, and it’s a safe bet you won’t be seeing a litany of farm names on her menu. Here she is echoing Wylie Dufresne.
It’s terrible to bash molecular gastronomy, I must say, but I don’t get it. I really don’t. I guess I like seeing more farmers’ market stuff, but at the same time there’s a lot of jumping on the bandwagon. I’m really tired of listening to people talk about how they’re going to grow vegetables in their backyard — it’s a whole different job! But I love places that are honoring it, like Northern Spy. I go in and it’s not a lot of, ‘I’m buying this at a farmers’ market,’ but everything is seasonal and well put-together.
Also, which restaurant might she be talking about here?
There’s some place on First Avenue that does a breakfast special where you get sunny-side-up eggs and for $2 extra, you can get an organic egg. There’s no way you’re having two different kind of eggs, and no way the cook is running downstairs to the walk-in for organic eggs! That drives me crazy. It’s marketing.
So what can you expect from Porsena? Well, she reiterates something she told New York earlier (“I want it to be the type of restaurant I went to as a kid growing up in Rome,” she told the magazine in April), and yesterday, she gave Eater a taste of a few dishes: a late summer heirloom tomato salad with Porchetta salt; a salad of radishes and cucumbers with feta, cilantro, and zatar; a three-bean salad with cranberry beans; and of course her Porchetta ragu. According to the magazine’s “Fall Preview,” you can also expect lasagna al forno, spaghettini con le vongole, and conchiliette con una marea di formaggi (tiny shells with many cheeses).
Chatting With Sara Jenkins: Fake Olive Oil, Jumping on the Greenmarket Bandwagon, and Williamsburg Restaurants That Feel Like Bars [Fork in the Road/VV]
Chatting With Sara Jenkins: Porsena, Eataly, and the Simple Beauty of Pasta With Tomato Sauce [Fork in the Road/VV]
Chef Sara Jenkins Previews Porsena at the Eater Test Kitchen [Eater NY]