It wasn’t long ago that we introduced you to some of our favorite itsy bitsy restaurants, and today we’re going behind-the-scenes at the tiny kitchen of dinnertable, a cozy 19-seat eatery in New York City’s East Village. This little gem recently re-launched with darling Chef Ricardo “Ricky” Arias at the helm, a veteran of New York Sushi Ko + Root & Bone, who is a pro at merging Japanese-style cuisine with French and Caribbean influences to produce a particularly mouth-watering menu. Combine that unique culinary perspective with an insanely intimate dining experience (we’re talking a living-room size seating area with an open kitchen, people), and you’ve got a night out that is truly like no other.

When you’re there, be sure to say Hi to Ricky for us! He’ll be right behind the bar. ;)

What's the staff meal your kitchen gets most excited about?

Our favorite family meal is definitely fried rice. We usually load it up with scraps of pork, fish, or beef and tons of veggies. I like to make mine with some Maggie sauce for an extra savory component.

What is the one knife you can't live without?

My Misono UX10 set are my go-to knifes. They were my first introduction to Japanese-style blades and have remained my favorite.

What's your naughty food indulgence?

My naughty food indulgence would have to be pimento cheese. I discovered it when I moved to NYC, and I crave it constantly.

What's your mini bar go to?

Whisky, no doubt!

If you could stage at any restaurant in your city, where would it be and why?

Unfortunately the restaurant I would have loved to stage in is not open anymore. It would have been David Santos’s Louro (who now lends his culinary expertise to Good Stock Soups in Urbanspace Vanderbilt). There was an air of simplistic elegance in every dish. You could feel and taste the hard work. He’s one of the chefs I most admire.

After a long day at work you go home and…?

I enjoy watching Law and Order SVU with a cold Miller High Life and a BLT in hand.

If you weren't working in a kitchen, what would you be doing?

Before cooking full time I was studying to become a lawyer, but after completing my courses I decided to keep cooking. When I was younger I really wanted to become an actor; I made movies for HBO Latino and the Sundance Film Foundation.

Drink of choice?

My drink of choice fluctuates with my mood, but usually beer and whiskey are my go-tos. Lately I’ve been on a sparkling wine kick, though.

One cookbook you can't live without/most referenced?

My most referenced cookbooks are: Tuna: A Love Story by Richard Ellis and Puerto Rico True Flavors by Wilo Benet. Richard Ellis’ book is a study on what I believe is the most fascinating creature in the sea: tuna! And in acclaimed Puerto Rican chef Wilo Benet’s book, he puts together a comprehensive list of the essential dishes of the island, which I love to reference to remind me of home.

What's the most overrated ingredient?

The most overrated ingredient has to be truffle oil. It’s greasy and never adds anything to a dish.

Describe your cooking in one word:


Images via: dinnertablenyc