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David Santos: A seasonal menu with a worldly bent

Chef David Santos’ cuisine at Hotel Griffou has touches of his Portuguese background. 

Hotel Griffou’s owners are veterans of such New York establishments as Freemans and the Waverly Inn, so by extension, you know their bar menu is a cocktail-lover’s paradise. But up to steal that spotlight are the flavorful kitchen creations by their executive chef, David Santos.

What’s your elevator pitch on the kind of cuisine you serve at Hotel Griffou?

I like to call it “very seasonal new American.” But I always throw in experiences from my life. I’m Portuguese so I use some Portuguese influences, as well as the countries I’ve traveled to, like Spain, Italy, and France — and places where I’d like to go.

Have you always wanted to be a chef?

Ever since I was a baby. My parents were right off the boat and they’ve been such a huge influence with their cooking traditions. When I was growing up, I was good at two things: baseball and cooking. I quickly realized that at my height I would never be on a professional baseball team, so cooking it was [laughs].

What’s the one dish you make to impress the ladies?

If I’m at home, I’ll do pasta. But whatever it is, it’s important to show you’ve put work and care into it as that would prove that you’d put work and care into a relationship, right?

Hotel Griffou
21 W. Ninth St.

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