Chef Josh Moore had perhaps the most daunting project in bar magnate Ravi Derossi’s portfolio. For humanitarian reasons, DeRossi is in the process of converting all 15 of his establishments to plant-based menus, and Moore has been working on new dishes for the Cuban-inspired bar Cienfuegos (95 Ave. A, East Village) for the last two months.
You can try the results beginning tonight — the former Maialino chef is particularly proud of his take on ropa vieja made with shiitake mushrooms with leek aioli over toasted rum rice and dairy-free desserts like spiced rum-laced Arroz Con Leche that uses coconut milk.
We asked Moore what he does when he’s not figuring out new ways to coax flavors from vegetables.
Take the kids: “There’s this little Italian place, Beccofino, right out of the movie ‘Big Night.’ It’s run by a family, they’re always very kind to my kids, just classic old school Italian food like chicken parm but really good.” 5704 Mosholu St., Bronx
Out-of-town guests: “The New York Botanical Garden (2900 Southern Blvd., Bronx), just a gorgeous institution, they have a little kids zone where they can build things and learn about how to plant seeds. And we like to take them to our favorite places when we do go out — I love Mexican food, so we recently went to Cosme (35 E. 21st St., Flatiron) with my parents and had a wonderful time.”
Best under $10: “I go to Joe’s Pizza, I think it’s some of the best pizza in the city; I love their tomato sauce.” 7 Carmine St. Greenwich Village
Date night: “We recently went to dinner at The Eddy — my wife looked it up, it was for my birthday — and we had the tasting menu, it was a wonderful meal.” 342 E. Sixth St., East Village
Hidden gem: “On Ninth Avenue, you could walk for 20 minutes and not know what to do because there are so many restaurants. But there’s a diamond in the rough, Kashkaval Garden, it’s recently changed over from a deli into a restaurant serving wonderful Mediterranean food, fondues and charcuterie. They have really affordable wines.” 852 Ninth Ave., Hell’s Kitchen
Hot tip: “Amor Y Amargo is a cool bar, definitely the most intriguing bar I’ve ever seen: It’s a bitters bar, amaros and spirits. There’s no food, there’s no juice or mixers, it’s just straight alcohol. It’s really small, there’s 12 bar stools, it’s a sharp, well-designed drink space for people to come and talk about drinking while they’re drinking.” 443 E Sixth St., East Village
Insta-worthy: “The Modern is really great. Their tasting room, if you catch it at the right time of day the light comes in and it’s just a beautiful space. Not only the food but the service was just great — it’s one of Danny Meyer’s fine dining spaces, and sometimes you go to those kinds of restaurants with three stars and you get kind of stuffy service, and the staff was everything but that.” Museum of Modern Art, 9 W. 53rd St., Midtown