Matt Abergel is the chef behind Hong Kong’s hip yakitori gastropub Yardbird. Before moving to Hong Kong, Abergel worked at the New York sushi temple Masa. He recently returned to Manhatten to cook at the New York City Wine and Food Festival. “I was really excited to go back,” he says. “New York is an inspiring city—the pace, the people, and most definitely the food.” Here, he shares meal highlights from his trip.
Eleven Madison Park
“Chef Daniel Humm and his business partner Will Guidara have become good friends of mine, and this was my first time eating at their restaurant. That dinner was one of the best dining experiences I’ve ever had; it epitomized the phrase ‘it’s all in the details,’ which is something I believe in very strongly. Their Manhattan Cart was definitely a highlight. They have a menu dedicated to Manhattan cocktails, which are made tableside.” 11 Madison Ave., (212) 889-0905, elevenmadisonpark.com
“I really love Mexican food and my meal at Empellón Cocina was seriously delicious. It’s clear that the chef has a solid understanding of Mexican food, and his ability to adapt this cuisine to his own style is very impressive. I particularly enjoyed the lamb tartare and the salsas.” 105 1st Ave, (212) 780-0999, empellon.com
The Brooklyn Star
“You really can’t ask for more than delicious comfort food in a warm, relaxed, neighborhood-style restaurant. And as a chef, I appreciate the fact that Brooklyn Star is open late. I loved the oyster selection and the fried pig tails.” 593 Lorimer St., Brooklyn, (718) 599, 9899, thebrooklynstar.com
“I was very lucky that my friends at The NoMad allowed me to do most of my prep work for my dinner for the festival in their kitchen. The time that I spent in their kitchen, restaurant, and hotel as a whole was amazing. The type of kitchen that they run is very inspiring—the quality and level of organization is impressive for such a big operation. And my dining experience at The NoMad restaurant was one of the best. The seafood and their signature roast chicken were highlights. 1170 Broadway, (212) 796-1500, thenomadhotel.com