Chef Abe Conlon has flown east and taken his Chicago-based restaurant Fat Rice to our lovely city for a two-month residency at Chefs Club in Nolita. I’ll explain how good the food is in one simple sentence: we were there for five hours and didn’t stop eating until the place practically closed.
Abe, who just happens to be a good ole’ James Beard Award winner, has excelled 100 percent and then some with his concept of Fat Rice. Essentially, he wants you to see his cooking through the Portuguese lens… but it goes beyond what’s on the surface level that you would see at other restaurants.
His residency in New York City, which has been going on for over a month now, happened after Conlon himself took an extensive trip around the world in June and July, where he continued to trace the deep history of global Portuguese gastronomy while exploring Eurasian heritage cuisines from Japan, Malaysia and beyond. He’s essentially Mister Smarty Pants but in the best way possible.
All of those flavors and influences presented themselves in the best way possible when we dined at Chefs Club last week. First of all, Chefs Club is a gorgeous location that is spacious with a chill vibe to it that enhances just how wonderful Nolita really is.
No joke I’m actually getting hungry writing this. Here’s what you should order from Abe’s stellar menu that we had. For starters, their Chili Prawns were da bomb. Like literal flavor explosion in our mouths that we could not get enough of. The garlic, white wine, butter and fermented bean only made the prawns themselves taste that much better and my bib was dripping with so much goodness from each bite.Also the Papo Seco, otherwise known as Portuguese bread, was great to dip all the juices in.
My favorite thing that I had that night, hands down, was their Po Kok Gai. Chicken thighs, chourico (type of pork sausage), potato, hen egg, coconut curry and black olive. It’s like your favorite artists greatest hits collection all rolled into one dish. Everything on this plate was right. R I G H T. This was truly my first experience having Portuguese cuisine like this and I can’t wait to try it over and over again.
Chef Conlon’s Fat Rice residency goes through October 31st. Get yourself a seat ASAP.
For more information on Fat Rice and Chefs Club, please check out their official website here.