"I want to make the kind of food people crave," says chef Brad Farmerie, of Public, The Monday Room, and, his most recent, Saxon + Parole. The Bowery space, styled by acclaimed design firm AvroKO, used to house Farmerie's Southeast Asian-English Double Crown. That restaurant closed in August and, within three and a half weeks, was reborn as Saxon + Parole, almost unrecognizable as the same restaurant. Part lofty barn and part boldly modern, it's a space of worn wood and whitewashed brick, the front room dominated by a mammoth bar, quieter dens tucked off with a darker, cozier space downstairs.
"I'm lucky that I have the luxury to reimagine," Farmerie said of his relationship with AvroKO. "There's no one else who could turn a restaurant into something else in one month."
"Grilled meats and aquatic delights" is Saxon + Parole's tagline, but that's only part of it. It's the sort of menu you can read for ages without making decisions: seafood towers and charcuterie and cheese boards, starters (and bone marrow!) and sharable "pots," before you even get to the entrées. There's a sense of playfulness to the whole thing—ever seen carrot soup topped with an aleppo-spiked marshmallow?—but even the more inventive dishes are straightforward on the plate. "Double Crown was a thinking person's menu," says Farmerie. "At Saxon + Parole I wanted to cook food that goes straight for the gut."
He thinks that's a better fit for the neighborhood—somewhere they want to attract regulars, a little more accessible, good drinking food, crowd-pleasing. "I loved Double Crown. It was a successful restaurant. I can see it coming back, in a smaller space, down the line. But that was more intellectual, trickier. I wanted to make this space into somewhere people would come once a week. Somewhere you can go with eight people and everyone gets something they like."
There's a lot going on—so let's introduce you to Saxon + Parole, in the slideshow above.