As the temperatures on the East Coast drop, quickly headed for the negatives, the season of hot food begins to blossom in the absence of warm weather’s flowers.
Anything with a hot temperature will suffice – but nothing heats you up from the inside out like food with a kick. If Indian food isn’t the first thing that comes to mind, that should change later this winter with the opening of one of India’s most celebrated restaurants in New York: O Pedro.
Chef Hussain Shahzad is bringing his acclaimed Goan restaurant, O Pedro, to join the other three resident restaurants at the Intersect by Lexus program. The Goan restaurant specializes in the complex influences of Portuguese culture on this southwest region of India, specifically in the cuisine.
“Goa is the land you go to forget your troubles. If you’re sitting in an office in India and bored of your day, the place that comes to your mind is Goa,” says Sameer Seth, Shahzad’s partner and CEO of the restaurant’s company.
Shahzad traveled extensively in Goa and Portugual before he finally opened his restaurant O Pedro in 2017. The restaurant makes a concerted effort to revive disappearing culinary traditions in the region, like cooking with wine and vinegar, cheesemaking, and its characteristic woodfired yeast-levened breadmaking.
“Yeast was first introduced to India by the Portuguese, and now it’s so Indian,” says Shahzad. “There are these cross-cultural references that exist in Portugual and India. The art of bread-making was taught to us by the Portuguese. We make it in the most traditional way possible, with the woodfire oven. It’s a dying art that O Pedro is trying to preserve and pass down for years to come. Indian food in general is not well documented. The only way you learn more is physically going out there and searching.”
Shahzad plans to bring over certain essential menu ingredients from India, but other than certain spices and dried goods, he believes everything can be sourced right in New York City – making it the perfect place to test out exotic cuisine on a new audience.
But diners will need to get it while they can – the restaurant will be a temporary presence, open for just 4 months.
Good thing someone gave you a head’s up!