New York Tavern To Celebrate Thomas Jefferson, American Heritage

It is not uncommon for restaurants to focus on the local and seasonal, but Chapter One in New York aims tells a deeper story—the heritage of American food and drink.

Chapter One American Tavern in the West Village announced the next installment of its Heritage Dinner Series. Executive Chef Warren Baird will celebrate Thomas Jefferson, the unsung hero of American cuisine, on Sunday, April 12 (the eve of his birthday).

In honor of Jefferson’s contributions to the development of American cuisine, a passionate farmer and a pioneering horticulturist and a vinophile, Chef Baird will present a menu highlighting his favorite dishes. The meal will feature items including Shad Roe and Guinea Fowl.

Since opening, Chef Baird has led the kitchen with a menu of straightforward American cuisine as well as a seasonal menu rooted in the classics. His cooking highlights prime ingredients such as Long Island duck, Berkshire pork, Virginia ham, and California olive oil, as well as fresh local seafood, vegetables, and other artisanal food products from New York.

After graduating from Johnson & Wales, Chef Baird spent time in Charleston and trained for one year in France and Belgium before moving to New York, where he eventually became sous chef at Esca. At Esca he worked with Katie O’Donnell, the general manager of Chapter One, when she was the chef de cuisine.

O’Donnell honed her skills at Esca for nearly eight years before she began consulting across the city. As a consultant, she trained line cooks and servers, experiences that allowed her to seamlessly transition to the front of the house.

The two have joined forces to champion Baird’s vision of a contemporary American tavern.

 Labor-intensive care is taken with all menu items, beginning with Brown Butter Popcorn at the bar and scratch-made bar snacks that include Pork Belly Sliders, Long Island Duck Wings, and house-made Beef Jerky marinated in Baird’s house-made Worcestershire sauce.

New entrees include Baird’s take on a classic. In Rabbit ‘n Dumplings, rabbit sourced from upstate New York is swapped for the usual chicken, braised with black trumpet mushrooms and leek, and topped with a buttermilk-chive biscuit crust.

Under Katie O’Donnell’s direction, the beverage program represents the same philosophy as the food—unpretentious, high-quality cocktails that pay tribute to American heritage and products.  Baird and O’Donnell collaborate on cocktail ideas, and recipes for house-made infusions and bitters.

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