The website for Cherrywood Kitchen features prominently the words “Cherrywood Kitchen by Chef Chris Cheung”.
We’ve certainly come a long way. There once was a time when eaters discriminated at chefs with unforgiving stereotypes. Sushi chefs need to be Japanese, Italian chefs from Italy, etc. The assumption was that chefs that were not of the proper ethnicity lacked understanding or respect for the cuisine, thus am unable to create the intricate flavors. That might have been the case then, but today aspiring young chefs spend years training their craft in various ethnic cuisines, so it’s not uncommon to see a master sushi chef from China as in the case at Neta.
New American cooking, though, is harder to define. If traditional American cooking evokes the image of burgers, steaks and fries, New American cuisine is…. just about everything else, with hints of just about every other cuisine. The flavor profile however is still decidedly from the western hemisphere.
With a resume that includes stints at Jean-Georges and Nobu, chef Cheung had the necessary training to carve out his own interpretation of New American. The concept of the restaurant is quite generic (by modern day NY standards): Fresh local produce, seasonal ingredients, etc. The unifying element is the cherrywood, which is used to smoke many ingredients in house, and is the dominating color and texture in the restaurant.