David Loewenberg's East End Empire
August 17, 2011 | East End Eats
Thanks to the opening of little/red in Southampton this year (along with Kirk Basnight), David Loewenberg’s East End restaurant empire is now four strong. As I saw firsthand a few weeks ago at Beacon, he is hands-on and on top of things from start to finish—characteristics that are surely at the heart of his success.
There are a lot of food and beverage trends out there right now. What has your attention and what are you tired of?
DAVID LOEWENBERG: Trends come and go. When you think about it slow food, farm-to-table, sustainable farming—these are not really new ideas. My attention has always been given to the regionality of our restaurants. It is important to me that we provide smart and healthy selections for our diners. Sourcing from our own backyard makes it all the better. What trends am I tired of? While I support the idea of exciting and fun cuisine, I can get impatient of those who only follow what is “hot.”
You have several successful restaurants with varying cuisines. What do you cook at home?
DL: I love to cook at home be it for my wife Sarah and daughter Lucy or a full house of friends. When I cook in the summer I mix in some “shopping” at the restaurants: cous-cous from Beacon; endive and watercress salad from red/bar; and quinoa from Fresno) with grilled striped bass or rib eye steaks. When cooking off-season it can be a whole-day affair with hearty braises, pâtés and terrines and great tarts and cobblers to finish off.
If you were on Iron Chef, what secret ingredient would you love and what would you hate?
DL: I love Iron Chef. It’s always fascinating checking out the serious cooking and different techniques. My secret ingredient would be local blackfish but only if I could have chefs Sammy, Erik, Bobby or Gretchen to bail me out! I wouldn’t know what to do with sea cucumbers.
What has been your go-to beverage this summer?
DL: Rosé. Pink is my favorite color.
And on a slightly different note, I hear you like watches. What was your most recent purchase?
DL: I haven’t bought a watch for two years. My 10th wedding anniversary brought me my first Rolex, a classic Submariner. My 20th landed me my Panerai Marina, which is almost always on my wrist. I’m presently looking at vintage Omegas and Rolex models from the 1970s.
PHOTOGRAPH BY MARYANNE RUSSELL