The New York Diet

Sam Talbot (Formerly) of ‘Top Chef’ Splurges at Nobu

“I usually cook for myself once a week, barely.”Photo: Melissa Hom
Around the time he helmed the kitchen at Williamsburgh Café, before becoming an executive chef at Punch and then a contestant on Top Chef, Forbes named Sam Talbot one of the city’s up-and-coming chefs and Zink declared him one of its sexiest: “He is like a girl when it comes to shopping and grooming himself,” his Bravo bio reads. Unfortunately this didn’t cut it with the judges, and Sam was kicked to the curb on this week’s penultimate episode. Admirers will be happy to hear, however, that he’s still zipping around on his Vespa and consulting with the owners of Fat Baby on their two new Lower East Side restaurants. We asked him what he ate this week and learned that he likes his food cheap but solid — aside from his monthly splurge at Nobu.

Thursday, January 25
I had the fried shrimp wontons and sautéed-beef-noodle salad with mint and tomatoes from Republic. It’s my favorite spot in the city for cheap, solid food. The spicy beef noodles are to die for. The fried wontons are stellar too.

Wednesday, January 24
For lunch I had some kimchee with lettuce and sriracha. It was really light and just what I was looking for. I got the kimchee from a friend who makes it. Then around 4 p.m. I had a pork sandwich at Nicky’s Vietnamese.

With all the Asian-inspired food I had consumed that day, I figured I would take my friend Frank with me to Momofuku. David Chang is the pork king. I had octopus salad, steamed pork buns, chicken buns, and Brussels sprouts with more kimchee.

Tuesday, January 23
Lassi’s food is always affordable, very fresh; huge flavors come out of such a tiny space. I had the rice and beans and methi chicken with fenugreek and tomatoes. I drank a Sapporo with it. Yeah, it was lunch. But so what?

Around 5 p.m. I had a pizza with sausage, olives , peppers, onions, meatballs, and fresh garlic. I was at John’s on Bleecker. I only eat pizza there. It’s the best thing since sliced bread.

Around 9:30 p.m. I had to meet a friend at Blue Ribbon. I had some really fresh uni, oysters, and the pupu platter.

Monday, January 22
I made a strip steak black and blue with scrambled eggs and jalapeños for lunch. I usually cook for myself once a week, barely. And it’s always as simple as possible.

For dinner I had sushi at Aki in the West Village. Crab with caviar and truffle oil.

Sunday, January 21
I had brunch at Fleur de Sel with some friends. We all got the five-course tasting menu. Brunch without eggs is almost a sin, but the veal cheeks were really great.

For dinner I went to Tía Pol, which is one of my favorite restaurants in the city: oyster-mushroom carpaccio, sea bass with olives, crab fritters, and charred peppers with sea salt.

Saturday, January 20
I had Republic for lunch.

For dinner I sat at the sushi bar at Nobu. I go there once a month. I had the sashimi new style, lobster seviche, the hamachi with jalapeño, and the infamous rock-shrimp tempura.
As told to Daniel Maurer

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Sam Talbot (Formerly) of ‘Top Chef’ Splurges at Nobu