Just in time for rooftop debauchery season, Slate Rooftop opened up with a specially curated selection of cocktails, brews on tap, frosé and bites atop the Pod Brooklyn hotel. This sister location to Slate NY’s Chelsea address features a menu of cheeseburger sliders, Philly cheesesteak empanadas, Korean spicy cauliflower, and more, all crafted by award-winning Executive Chef Darryl Harmon (who also shares his culinary prowess with Clinton Hall, another mecca for bar-friendly cuisine with a twist).
Greenpointers took the time to pick Chef Harmon’s brain about his inspiration in the kitchen, the authenticity of a Fedoroff’s cheesesteak, a new “pop-tails” to-go drink program, and more.
Greenpointers: What brought you to Clinton Hall and Slate Rooftop?
Chef Darryl Harmon: Back in 2015, I started a brunch menu for 16 weeks of football at Slate and I was just celebrity chef of the party. Then in December of 2015, they actually asked me to come on as a consultant as executive chef. I was at Slate for like a year and then we took over Suite 36, meanwhile, we had Clinton Hall, and we created the donut grilled cheese and that’s when I became the executive chef of Clinton Hall.
I think it was 2017 that we started doing all the Instagram-able food and stuff like that, and then I opened up the Seaport location, and I became the corporate executive chef of the brand at that point. Then we opened the Pod hotels and this year we decided to do a Slate rooftop. So it was kind of perfect because, you know, I always did the menus at Slate and we kind of integrated that menu in with our Clinton Hall project as well.
Greenpointers: How does this new venture differ from anything you’ve done before?
Chef Harmon: I worked in fine dining, so it was kind of like taking classical dishes, gourmet dishes and doing a spin and making it fun in a beer hall setting with games. Like burgers, but taking the burgers and doing a twist. So we have that fondue do burger at Clinton Hall, and basically I put a twist on that. I use a real fondue sauce, which is a classical French technique, but just making it fun with a real good burger and the French fries on top and then pouring the fondue cheese over top. So that’s basically how the menus develop — we make everything fresh and we use some of my gourmet techniques to blend in with fun food.
Greenpointers: What is your philosophy in the kitchen?
Chef Harmon: Just using fresh ingredients and trying to create something different. I always resort back to everywhere that I worked in the past, and I try to bring all those flavors into a dish, you know? So it’s kind of different, you know, I’ll use some French techniques ’cause I worked in the casinos, too. Back in the day down in Atlantic City, I worked at French restaurants, steak houses, became vice president of the American Culinary Federation there. So all those cuisines, I try to bring that into my kitchens now.
Greenpointers: Is there anything coming up at Clinton Hall or Slate Rooftop that you’re particularly excited about?
Chef Harmon: We created these poptail drinks and basically it’s a to-go drink that we put into a popcorn container and then top it with popcorn and another snack. So it could be pigs in a blanket or chicken and waffles and we’re experimenting with Slate and doing one with like nachos on top. So it’s like you drink and eat at the same time because, with this new to-go policy, it has to be served with food. So we just combined everything in one cup.
Greenpointers: What’s your most recommended dish on the new Slate Rooftop menu?
Chef Harmon: What’s really popular is our crispy mac and cheese bites and what I do is I crust it with a Cool Ranch Dorito crust with a spicy ranch dip. Also our Korean crispy cauliflower; at Clinton Hall, we do a buffalo cauliflower, so at Slate we gave it a twist. We did a Korean barbecue sauce with sesame seeds and scallions and it’s sweet and spicy. And then our Philly cheesesteak empanadas are really popular.
Greenpointers: Are there any other restaurants in the area that you enjoy?
Chef Harmon: I’m a Philly guy. So you know I go to Fedoroff’s to get a cheesesteak. That’s the closest one to being back in Philly. Chefs are weird, you know, we kind of eat on the go when we’re working, so I go to Joe’s Pizza and grab something or any of the quick food that I can grab something on the fly.
Greenpointers: What’s next for Slate Rooftop this summer?
Chef Harmon: It’s always evolving, so we’re talking about the 4th of July, probably doing something a little special up there. I’m not sure what we’re going to do, but for myself, I wanna do like a whole barbecue series.
And we are talking about opening up our other side of the rooftop for events. So that’s something that’s gonna be really big and we have an event menu that we’re putting together. So we’re planning on hosting a lot of parties this summer on the rooftop on the other side, we just put a structure up with solar panels and all that. It’s gonna be really cool.