This May, celebrity chef (and T+L food and culture contributor) Marcus Samuelsson adds yet another restaurant to his multicultural, comfort-food empire. Marcus’, as the new restaurant is called, is Samuelsson’s highly anticipated take on Caribbean cuisine.
The news comes days before the opening of Samuelsson’s Streetbird Rotisserie, a casual dining spot debuting April 2 in NYC.
But back to the new restaurant at hand: on May 27, Samuelsson, who has found success with his Red Rooster Harlem in NYC, Norda in Sweden, and a previous pop-up restaurant in Bermuda, is expanding his reach to the North Atlantic permanently, with a new space inside the recently renovated Bermuda Fairmont Hamilton Princess.
Below, the Yes, Chef author fills us in on his favorite Caribbean ingredient, the upcoming Harlem EatUp! Festival, and what diners can expect from his eponymous restaurant.
T+L: Tell me about the concept for this new restaurant.
MS: We are introducing our signature globally influenced cuisine to Bermuda, but with a nod to some of the fresh ingredients and classic dishes that you find on the island.
T+L: Can you share a few favorite dishes from the menu?
MS: I really love our catch of the day with salsa verde. Nothing beats fresh caught fish, especially when it's cooked on our wood-burning grill. I also really enjoy our fish chowder croquettes—they are a great bar snack or just a small bite before a meal, but the fish chowder really comes through in these.
T+L: What sets this restaurant apart from your others?
MS: I like to think of all our restaurants as "fun dining." We want to make sure that in addition to delicious food and a view that you can't beat looking out into the harbor, we really make our guests smile with thoughtful touches.
T+L: How does opening a restaurant in a hotel differ from opening a stand-alone location?
MS: There really is no difference—the main goals of providing excellent service and delicious food to our guests and making them feel comfortable is just as important in a hotel or in a stand-alone location.
T+L: Why Bermuda?
MS: Besides the beautiful setting, I really fell in love with the people and culture there. There's just a warm, hospitable, and inviting feeling that you get in Bermuda. Everyone there has really made us feel at home since we did our pop-up there last summer.
T+L: What’s your favorite Caribbean ingredient?
MS: Can I say rum? I love having a Dark and Stormy when I arrive in Bermuda, and the one we will serve at the restaurant has some fresh ginger for that extra punch.
T+L: Do you have any other favorite restaurants in Bermuda that you could recommend?
MS: I have to go with Art Mel's for their famous fish sandwich. I would never have thought to order that on raisin bread, but it's definitely worth the long wait.
T+L: Any food-related travel advice you could share with our readers? Or tips for finding great, local cuisine on the road?
MS: Well, you have to ask the locals. You want to make sure you're eating where they're eating.
T+L: Any final words about the new space?
MS: It's going to be really spectacular—from the windows overlooking the harbor, to the gorgeous terrace and the wood burning grill, we have a lot of great visuals to match the beautiful setting.
T+L: Back in the states, can you tell me a little about this year's Harlem EatUp! Festival?
MS: We're super excited for people to experience Harlem and our food scene in a way that they haven't before. There's going to be amazing panels, and special guest dinners at restaurants around the neighborhood, and it's just a really great way to explore everything Harlem has to offer.
Caroline Hallemann is the Assistant Digital Editor of Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @challemann.