Top 5 Chefs in Queens
2. DANNY BROWN
DANNY BROWN WINE BAR & KITCHEN
104-02 METROPOLITAN AVE.
Danny Brown’s restaurant first received a Michelin star back in 2011 and has consistently been on the list ever since.
He has certainly come a long way from cooking at Bridgewater’s South Street Seaport Catering in Lower Manhattan as a teenager. Back then, he only cooked in order to make enough money to support his rock band dreams.
And although his parents were in the wine business and he grew up lending a hand whenever they hosted wine dinners, his wine bar and restaurant wasn’t inspired by those particular experiences. Instead, Brown found inspiration while traveling around Europe.
“I worked in restaurants in places like France and Italy, and when you work in a restaurant that’s more formal, you go out and see a difference in nightlife and wine bars,” Brown said. “It was fun, exciting and they were very casual atmospheres.”
His travels also inspired the type of cuisine he shares with locals in his native Forest Hills. His menu is stocked with reinterpreted classic European dishes. One of his favorite dishes so far was the Hare Royal, a French dish from the 1700s featuring wild rabbit.
Brown also claimed that the customer has great power over what dish ends up on the constantly changing menu. He believes their feedback can be the biggest influence on how a chef cooks. Interacting with customers is imperative, especially since he knows many of them personally. Brown grew up just five blocks from the restaurant. He much prefers the residential neighborhood over places like SoHo, where he used to work.
“Working in Manhattan has a transient aspect to it,” he said. “This is an area where people are mostly from around here or have ties to it.”
He’s also quite pleased with the new dining options that have popped up around the neighborhood. When he opened nearly 10 years ago, there weren’t many out-of-the-box establishments. But now, there are gastro pubs, places selling craft beers and more wine bars.
“It shows some thought,” Brown said “There is definitely something here in Queens and especially in Forest Hills.”
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