An Early Taste of All'Onda, Which Opened Monday in the Village
Tortellini. Photo via All'Onda
Fierce buzz preceded the entrance of All'Onda (22 East 13th Street, 212-231-2236), a new restaurant near Union Square from chef Chris Jaeckle and restauranteur Chris Cannon.
As the story goes, Jaeckle and Cannon crossed paths years back when Jaeckle was the incoming chef at Ai Fiori and Cannon was the outgoing restaurateur at Altamarea Group. They re-connected on LinkedIn and met for lunch, bonded over their shared history with and departure from Altamarea, and when Jaeckle started planning a new project, he brought Cannon on board as a consultant.
Early rumors said it would be Italian. Then a risotto-forward restaurant with an emphasis on sparkling wines. Eventually, the pair settled on Northern Italian with Japanese undertones (don't call it fusion!), which Cannon sees as a natural outgrowth of Jaeckle's earlier time at Morimoto.
Cannon says he encouraged Jaeckle to bring Japanese emphasis on technique and plating to the Italian table, which was a struggle at first: "For awhile," Cannon says, "[Jaeckle] was really afraid, like, 'Oh no, they're going to call it fusion.' And I was like 'Don't worry about that...If the [resulting] food tastes Italian and feels Italian and you've used a couple Japanese products or techniques to make it more interesting and flavorful, that's great, don't worry about it.'"
Cannon, who has spent the last thirty years serving critically-acclaimed Italian food, says strict adherence to "authentic Italian" limits chefs and food alike: "If you deviated even slightly, everyone was like 'Oh my god, you can't do that,' so no one [has been] willing to mess around with [Italian food], and that's ridiculous."
Other cuisines, Cannon says, aren't boxed in by the same traditions: "If you go to eat at Le Bernadin or Jean Georges, three quarters of the menu is from South America or Asia. It was fine for a French chef to do that, but as soon as you get to the Italian vernacular, it's like, "That's not Italian -- you can't do that."
We had a nice, long chat with Cannon, so check back for a longer interview in the next few days, but to whet your palate, we swung by opening night to see what all the fuss is about.
Click to the next page for an early taste.