Chef and co-owner Mike Price is so attached to Market Table that even he got married in this 40-seat market-cum-restaurant. Who better to cook for the occasion than chef Joey Campanaro (The Little Owl)? Regulars who pack into this Greenwich Village eatery even came by to watch the ceremony through the floor-to-ceiling windows. Dinner highlights included Market Table’s signature gnocchi with braised short ribs and crab cakes. Before launching Market Table, he trained at the CIA and then went on to work for restaurateurs Jimmy Bradley and Danny Abrams at the Mermaid Inn and The Harrison. Now Price plays the part of butcher, baker as well as chef. His seasonal American spring menu will feature a salad of fava beans, pecorino and mint and an English pea risotto.
Recently married March 2, 2008 to my amazing wife Amy.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I’ve always wanted to cook. I started at home around the age of five
cooking plain rice, helping my mother, etc. My grandfather was a butcher
and my grandmother was dietitian, and the other side of my family raised
animals and grew crops on the family farm, so food is in my blood.
What was your first job in food?
My first food job was as a dishwasher at The Maryland Way Restaurant at the
Holiday Inn in Solomons, Maryland.
After working at NYC’s Symphony Café, you moved to Miami to open upscale seafood restaurant Fish.
How did the restaurant scene in Miami
differ from NYC?…
It was definitely a smaller scene at least back then. Nobody went out
to eat until about 7 or 7:30 so we would set up the line, go to the beach, have
a cocktail, and then go cook. It was great!
Having grown up near the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, have you ever had a desire to go
back and open a crab shack?
I’ve always wanted to open a place like that, and came close once, but it
didn’t work out. Maybe I’ll revisit the idea in a few years when/if I get
some property down there.
You recently opened Market Table, a seasonal American restaurant that
brings market ingredients to the table. How did you develop your idea of
blending a market and a restaurant?…
I wanted to give the customer access to the same items I use to cook with,
while at the same time creating a greater relationship with the customers and
the neighborhood. I think it’s worked out pretty well so far.
People ask for recipe ideas and cooking tips, and I’m always glad to share with
Your passion for using fresh, simply prepared seafood has driven the success
of your West Village restaurant. What do you
look forward to implementing in your menus for the spring?
I always get excited about spring peas and asparagus. Morels are
pretty great, too.
Your restaurant partners, Gabriel Stulman and Joey Campanaro, also have The
Little Owl under their belt. How did you form this partnership?
Joe and I have been very good friends for about 15 years–and the great
success he and Gabriel had opening the Little Owl made the partnership a
natural fit. The space’s old-school restaurant history, formerly
Shopsin’s, was also very appealing–it’s one of the prettiest street corners in
the city. How could we not open a restaurant there?
Are there any dishes on your menu that are inspired by dishes from The
Little Owl or vice versa?
Joe and I come from the same school of cooks, so I think our food is similar
in a lot of ways. I definitely think we use each other for inspiration.
Specific dishes I’m not sure; I think it’s more about an approach to
ingredients and cooking.
Congratulations are in order – we heard that you were recently married and
celebrated at Market Table, catered by your partner Joey. What was on the
Yup, the wedding was great. We had lobster salad, crab cakes, halibut
with spinach and guanciale risotto, strip steak with gouda gratin, gnocchi with braised short
ribs, scallops wrapped in bacon. Joe is an amazing cook.
Did Joey’s signature sliders make an appearance?
No, but they should have.
Who supplied the wedding cake and what kind was served?
The wedding cake was done by Colleen Grapes (from Irving Mill and the Red
Cat). She is a good friend of both my wife and mine. She made
a three tier pineapple upside-down cake, as well as 35 individual cakes.
They were absolutely amazing.
What’s your favorite dish on Market Table’s menu right now and why?
The blood orange salad with hearts of palm, pomegranate, and basil.
The blood oranges are amazing right now.
What’s your least favorite dish (and yes, you must pick one)?
Probably the gravlax. I’m just not a big cured salmon fan, but we make
it here and people love it.
What is your junk food of choice?
Salt and vinegar potato chips.
Other than your own, what’s your favorite restaurant in NYC?
The Little Owl, Daniel, Veritas.
What culinary trend do you most embrace?
The return to simple ingredients with simple presentations, not a lot of
fluff. Good food done well.
What trend do you wish would die already?
The culinary chemistry. Potassium whatever in my walnut powder foam.
What’s next on the horizon for you? Any new ventures or restaurants in the
works? Spill the beans…
Nothing for now. We’re still getting market table how we want it to
be, but we are hungry young men and the options are endless.
Address: 54 Carmine St. nr. Bedford St.
Until we eat again,
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