5 Questions for: Ford Fry

The chef and restaurateur’s steakhouse concept, Marcel, offers old-world romance and moody allure. Here, Fry speaks to AH&L about the westside’s only steakhouse—and his booming culinary empire.

How does Marcel compare to your other restaurants?
We typically go for a lot of natural light, but the space didn’t allow for much of that. So we just went with it and gave it a very old-school, dimly lit atmosphere with super-classic materials and details from the era of continental cuisine.

how does that atmosphere play into the dining experience at Marcel?
I decided to go full-on Euro-inspired. There’s a sense of humor to what we have done—yet on the other hand, who doesn’t like that big slab of veal Parmesan, shrimp scampi, and butter-basted steaks?

What dish do you recommend?
The tableside Caesar salad. You just don’t get them like this anymore.

Tell us about Bar Margot and The Optimist’s sister restaurant, BeetleCat.
At Bar Margot, we wanted to create a community gathering spot with a full menu of small plates and shareable items, all in a very comfortable lounge setting. BeetleCat encourages the sharing of numerous small plates. The upstairs oyster bar will have a more relaxed feel—it’s a bit Hamptons-esque. The lower “den” is a nod to those early ’70s basements and will have a bar, patio and seating areas, all with a bit more edge.

What inspires you?
The number one thing that inspires me is a desire to create a place I personally want to go to. Going forward, I don’t see too many more completely different restaurants, but I do see variations of current ones. We’re in the works with a Superica off Roswell Road with an early 2016 planned opening.