This story originally appeared on Foodandwine.com.
The last thing anyone expected from chef and television superstar Emeril Lagassewas to launch his first-ever New York City restaurant in secret. But oddly enough, that’s exactly what happened. Rodos, Lagasse’s Greek island-inspired concept located inside the lobby of Chelsea’s Hotel Henri, quietly opened last week as part of Lagasse's We Love Food Hospitality consulting group.
The chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author, who rose to fame as one of the first Food Network celebrities after making a name for himself at New Orleans' Commander's Palace, is known for an empire of nearly a dozen restaurants between NOLA, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Las Vegas –– but never in New York. He’s no stranger to the city, though. With 2,000-plus episodes of cooking shows on the Food Network under his belt, it’s about time he opened a restaurant in one of the country's busiest food cities.
After several trips to Greece, Lagasse took the plunge into NYC dining with Rodos. The 112-seat restaurant, a collaboration between Lagasse and restaurateurs Yiannis Chatiris and Eleni Vareli, aims to showcase the vibrant flavors of the Mediterranean, specifically the Greek island of Rhodes.
“Yiannis and I have known each other professionally for years and became friends,” Lagasse told the New York Post. “I’ve had more than 75 offers to open in New York but nothing was right until now.”
The menu features classic Mediterranean cooking coupled with Lagasse’s signature New Orleans sensibility. The result is octopus beignets, barbecued shrimp, crispy duck wings in Greek chili honey, and Louisiana crawfish-stuffed clams, alongside grilled branzino, traditional Greek salad, and baklava. There’s a large wine and cocktail menu to match, including the gin-based Forbidden Fruit with St. George raspberry liqueur, lemon, and honey.
After more than 30 years in the industry, Lagasse’s opening of Rodos comes as a welcome surprise for New Yorkers.
Rodos; 39 West 24th St., New York City; 212-989-8811.