So, we’re opening an outpost (from a Brooklyn-centric mindset) of Fatty ‘Cue in Manhattan. I’m taking a moment, here, now, to explore what this means to me. The decision to open another ‘Cue was easy as we love so many of the dishes that we’ve created at our funky little spot in Brooklyn. And, of course, we feel it’s our obligation to bring some of these dishes to Manhattanites who are still reluctant to cross a bridge for a meal. The question we had to ask ourselves was, Will it be an exact replica of Fatty ‘Cue Brooklyn? I don’t think there was a moment of equivocation. Of course it won’t. As we’ve been in motion for years now, we continue to stay in motion, continue to cook Fatty food.
But what is Fatty food?
I guess some long-winded explanation describing bright flavors, sometimes sharp acidity balanced by sweetness, using fermented seafood to create depth and complexity in seasoning, the heat of chilies to open the palate, textural contrasts for punctuation, a penchant for combining Asian condiments with local produce, meats and fish…something along those lines could begin to describe the “what is it” question.
We’ve learned, however, that the name Fatty has come to represent a style all its own. It’s no longer a question of what is Fatty. It is a definition unto itself, at least as far as our restaurants and cooking style are concerned.
In 2005, when we opened Fatty Crab on Hudson street we had to give it a definition, or at least we felt compelled to do so, and therefore explained it as Malaysian-influenced American food. Any description we attempt will fall short of properly explaining the happening that defined Fatty. It was (and remains) a combination of creative talents obsessed with food, wine, music and the celebration of life on a geeked out level that helped carve out a new niche in dining…. It has all been said before, but what was the real catalyst that launched what is now Fatty was when it happened, the timing, the passion, naivete and frustration with existing paradigms that brought Fatty to the vanguard of flavor and a new style of dining. Yes, we still pull ingredients and grab at some vague inspiration from the Malaysian canon; Thai, Italian, Greek, Korean, Turkish and more have crept their way under our umbrella of influences as well. We’re New Yorkers. We’ve cooked and eaten in restaurants representing more ethnicities than I can count…and I made it all the way up to 58 the other day! Yes, I’m progressing.
So, we’re opening a new Fatty ‘Cue and it won’t be exactly the same as the other Fatty ‘Cue. It won’t look the same, the wines won’t be exactly the same, there will be new drinks and there will be new food. Fatty food. We’re just cookin’ what we feel like eating now…
Check out last week’s installment of The Alimentary Canal.