Why Chef Michael Lomonaco
Loves New York City
In 2006, Chef Michael Lomonaco opened Porter House Bar & Grill on the fourth floor of The Shops at Columbus Circle. Since then, this groundbreaking restaurant — which was named top steakhouse by New York Magazine — has become a must-visit destination that helped define the dining scene on the west side of Manhattan. “The weight of New York and the center of gravity has shifted to the west side,” says Lomonaco. We caught up with the esteemed chef to find out what he loves most about this area and about New York City.
1. The Energy: Constant growth and building is what makes New York so vital and infuses so much energy and gives us a real sense of creative energy. No matter what business you’re in, whether you’re in fashion or in art or in food, creative energy is part of New York’s granite.
2. The Neighborhoods: As a native New Yorker, I’ve always appreciated how neighborhoods blend into each other, grow, and expand. And in all my years of working in New York restaurants, the neighborhoods have always been important — that’s because they are full of people, real people.
3. The Shops at Columbus Circle: This has become an iconic location to begin or end any day or evening. People come from all over the tri-state area to dinner here on any night of the week, and people come from all over the world. One of the things they want to see is this building, the Circle, Central Park, and I like to think they come to see us at Porter House. We’ve developed an international reputation.
4. The Arts: This is such an active neighborhood for the arts. We have Jazz at Lincoln Center in this building, Lincoln Center is nearby, and Broadway — where many of the top shows are playing — is just steps away. In fact, wherever people are experiencing the arts, from the Guggenheim to the Metropolitan Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Natural History, or the Museum of Art and Design, this location fits into people's planning. They come here before or after matinees, before dinner, or after the show for cocktails.
5. The Restaurants: I became a chef because I was interested in making people feel good. That’s what food does. A restaurant is meant to restore you, relax you, excite you. It’s also an escape. It’s modern entertainment in New York — where you can choose between theater and museums and art or restaurants. And I think restaurants are one of the ultimate joyful places for people to be, and my role in it is to cook food that makes you happy, that leaves you feeling warm and wanting to come back.
Michael Lomonaco: Noah Fecks
The Shops at Columbus Circle: Scott Frances
Veal Chop: Porter House Bar & Grill