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Brad Farmerie Talks Cocktails, Tattoos and His Carnivorous Offspring

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Back in 2003, Brad Farmerie opened PUBLIC, energizing Nolita's culinary scene with the likes of grilled kangaroo on coriander falafel. Partnering with AvroKO Hospitality Group, his following projects included Double Crown, which morphed into Saxon + Parole. In the cozy spot that was once the Monday Room (PUBLIC's adjacent wine bar) now houses the Daily. Despite these changes, Farmerie has found his groove with black truffle baba ghanoush, oysters with malt and lemon aioli, and spicy tripe stew with garlic toast, which just begs to sop up a runny egg. Here,
 
RIP, The Monday Room. It was such a classy little boîte.
I loved the Monday Room from the day that we opened. It was always a nice little hideaway with lots of wine flights and small tastings that became some of my signature dishes, like glazed eel with pickled bean sprouts and a quail egg and sea urchin custard with lobster, lime, and caviar. I also liked the small size, which made it a perfect testing ground for new culinary ideas.
 
How is the Daily different?
If the Monday Room was a slightly demure, sophisticated little wine room, then The Daily is its feisty younger brother. The music is a little louder, the drinks a little stiffer, and the food is a little gutsier. The full cocktail list changes every day and large swaths of the food menu will change as well.
 
When you made your PUBLIC debut everyone started talking about how you were rocking 'global flavors.' Does this still ring true?
It definitely still is the case. I have done a bit of traveling and I love to incorporate the flavors and ingredients into my menus. It gives a taste of the unexpected and makes the dishes memorable.
 
There have been lots of changes for you and the team. You transformed Double Crown into Saxon + Parole and then revamped Madam Geneva shortly after.
Yeah, lots of work. Saxon + Parole reflects the direction some of my food was going, towards amazing ingredients simply prepared, predominantly by grilling, with one or two small twists to make the dishes special. We also wanted to create a menu that was large and varied enough, and an atmosphere that was completely inviting and relaxing, so that our guests would want to come back once a week, not once a month. The cocktail program ensures that no one goes thirsty by using lots of freshly juiced fruits and vegetables and twists on classic cocktails like the Manhattan on draught using Parole whiskey and leather bitters. Madam Geneva's continued to evolve as well, moving towards a fresher approach to cocktails and a list of 'street snacks' like duck steamed buns, twice cooked pork in chili caramel, and spicy Singapore laksa.
 
Speaking of trends, it seems like every young chef and bartender these days is flaunting tattoos. What do you think about this?
It's colorful.
 
You have some tattoos yourself.
Oh, man. They are signs of the misspent youth of a seventeen-year-old Brad Farmerie.
 
You have two little children. Are they good eaters?
My kids, Bruno, four, and Scarlet, one and a half, were both amazing eaters -- octopus, sweetbreads, miso soup -- until they learned the word 'no' and began testing the concept of free will.

What do they want you to cook for them at home?
My kids really dig braised meat, so the past few months have been all about lamb shank, lamb neck, short ribs, and pork shoulder. Needless to say I'm a pretty big fan as well. We have a pretty insane dish on the brunch menu at Saxon + Parole that they love: French toast stuffed with banana, bacon, and homemade Nutella. Not an everyday dish, but a once-a-week special treat.


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