It’s actually both. While surfing quickly through Twitter, we came to a halt at an image of a woman opening a door inside an art gallery on 8th Street in Greenwich Village – the door being a large photograph of Basquiat! Huh….
We walked right by this gallery just a few days ago, admiring the current exhibition, but in a hurry, never crossed the street to check it out. If we would have, we might have learned that behind one of the Basquiat portraits was a doorway leading to an incredibly discreet (it’s a secret) restaurant.
Welcome to Frevo, a culinary endeavor from Brazilian chef Franco Sampogna and Portuguese restaurateur Bernardo Silva. Opened in May 2019, Frevo takes its name from the Portuguese word ‘fever,’ which, in English means ‘to boil.’ It is a direct reference to the bubbling, overflowing energy of New York City and the founder’s native language.
Here, guests will find fine art and fine dining, first entering into the gallery space featuring rotating solo exhibitions from established and up-and-coming artists such as Brooklyn-based Khari Turner or French abstract painter TOMA-L.
Behind one exhibited canvas, guests will find access to the 14-seat c-shaped counter with open kitchen overlooking the chef’s work. For guests seeking a more exclusive, celebratory experience, the restaurant offers two tables ~ one accommodating up to six guests, the other, four.
Frevo serves a unique tasting menu focused on high-quality ingredients, emphasizing simplicity, seasonality, and sustainable practices. A new menu is unveiled every three months and evolves with the seasons and ingredient availability.
Drawing inspiration from international cuisines and his European fine dining background, Chef Franco Sampogna places the spotlight on the ingredients used to create Frevo‘s menu. Chef Sampogna highlights extensive research for the highest quality and most sustainable producers as one of the foundations of Frevo cuisine.
“The most unheard part of a chef job is the research for outstanding producers. The best ones are not featured in magazines or working with large distributors, so a huge amount of work goes into locating the right ones and finding a way to work with them.”….. Chef Sampogna
Furthermore, Frevo places sustainability issues as one of its core business values, prioritizing food waste reduction in the restaurant industry and championing the tasting menu model as part of the solution for the future.
“Tasting menu is one of the most sustainable business models in the restaurant world. Frevo only orders the number of ingredients necessary to prepare the menu for a precise number of guests. Frevo does not stock surplus or ingredients that are not represented in the menu, therefore reducing waste to a minimum.“…. Chef Sampogna.
Influenced by his experience working in Hotel Windsor in the South of France, one of the first European hotels to blend art with hospitality in the early ’90s, Bernardo sees hospitality and art as a natural combination.
“While being at a museum or art exhibition, you often come to see the artwork as opposed to living with it. As you blend hospitality and art, you have this perfect common ground that allows people to experience the art while enjoying a hospitality service or a tasting menu in Frevo’s case. This allows people to spend tie with the artwork and experience sensations that otherwise would be left out on a regular art exhibition.”….Chef Sampogna
The hidden door comes as a tribute to the rich speakeasy cocktail bar scene of New York City. The idea is to play with guest’s expectations, making the experience start before the first bite and setting up the mood for the fine dining experience.
Collecting and offering an expertly curated wine list from around the world is an essential part of the journey for Frevo. Frevo tapped sommelier Quentin Vauléon, Best Young Sommelier in France 2017, to head its wine program and share his talent and vision with Frevo guests. Frevo offers a boutique-sized wine selection focused on highlighting sustainable farming practices. For those looking for a complete tasting experience, Frevo offers two distinct wine pairings, Classic and Premium.
In the gallery, Frevo is currently showcasing Basquiat ~ A Portrait by renowned New York photographer Richard Corman. A limited-edition series of rarely seen portraits of Basquiat were taken in 1984 at the art studio on 57 Great Jones Street, a former stable owned by friend and mentor Andy Warhol.
Corman’s images focus on capturing the natural beauty of the human spirit behind the art. Nearly all his photographs, especially portraits, present the essence of human endeavor in a simplistic way. Corman has worked with numerous other notable subjects, including Nelson Mandela, Meryl Streep, Muhammad Ali, Madonna, Sting, and more. With each of these portraits, Corman captures an essential image of great spirits and incredible talent.
Frevo, 48 West 8th Street, near Avenue of the Americas. Book your reservation HERE. Telephone 646-455-0804. Frevo is open from Tuesday to Saturday and availability opens on the 1st of every month for the following month. Expect to pay $158 per person, not including gratuity. Wine Pairing $105 per person. Premium Wine Pairing $240 per person.
Follow Frevo on Instagram.
We can’t leave without a mention of the current exhibition, Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure, in Chelsea, and a peek inside 57 Great Jones, where we visited during the Al Diaz/SAMO exhibition a few years ago.