He calls himself one of the Dirty Dozen — along with Jimmy Schmidt, Jeremiah Tower, Jonathan Waxman, Alice Waters, Wolfgang Puck, Paul Prudhomme, Mark Miller, Bradley Ogden, Charley Trotter, Michel Richard, and last but not least Jean-Louis Palladin — chefs who forever changed America’s eating habits. In no small way, every time you pick up some fresh ginger root or raddichio at the supermarket, you owe a quiet ‘thank you’ to this group.
Beginning in the early ’80’s, when Americans were only dimly aware of dim sum and delicata squash, Larry Forgione and the other eleven (along with dozens of others, no doubt), started cooking and preaching their philosophy of locally grown, indigenous ingredients, and taking advantage of the natural bounty offered by that natural wonderland that is America. Indeed, all of them pay homage to Palladin, who was the Pied Piper of this movement.
Like ELV, all of them are also…..uh….er….getting deep into middle age, but that hasn’t dimmed Forgione’s enthusiasm for seeking out the best produce this country has to offer. (It may have contributed, however, to his getting out of the New York rat race.)
From 1982 until 2002, Forgione’s An American Place was an essential stop on any gourmand’s education. His Lexington Avenue location was the first place ELV ever tasted fiddlehead ferns and heirloom tomatoes — not to mention crab cakes that actually identified the provenance of the crustaceans. In 2004, he opened AAP in downtown St. Louis. and as you can read here, our dinner there in February was every bit as satisfying as any meal we ever had at the flagship…..although LF told us he’s been more than a little disappointed by the “downtown renaissance” that was supposedly taking place there.
Perhaps that’s why he was lured to the Wynn environs — there’s nothing like a cash cow to take your mind off of a lame horse — but regardless, we’re just happy to have him here. Plans are underway for a complete redesign of Tableau — butching up that very feminine space — and bringing the decor more in line with the very American, ingredient-driven cuisine for which Larry Forgione is famous. He also told us the color scheme will be evocative of a Roy Lichtenstein painting(?), and that the place will have a more indoor/outdoor feel that takes advantage of the adjoining Wynn VIP pool area.
ELV assumes this will cause ELV (and his staff) even more difficulty concentrating on what’s on their plates….but if anyone can keep ELV’s head off a swivel (whilst supping on superior barbecue served on Bernardaud china), Larry Forgione is it.
An American Place in the Wynn Resort and Casino is scheduled to open in mid-November.