What chef doesn’t talk about her passion and craft? But so often that conversation translates into tedious, hard-nosed, by-the-book experiences: omakase replications straight from Tokyo or bolognese exactly the same as so-and-so’s Sicilian grandmother’s recipe. How refreshing, by contrast, that the dishes at Ferris are built on creativity. Set beneath the new MADE Hotel, the sleek rustic-chic decor gives nothing away in terms of the cuisine (which is technically new American). Hygge vibes flow from the low ceiling, chunky wood beams and faded blue cushioned benches, working in tandem with the open kitchen and floor-to-ceiling glass windows—albeit facing a basement garden—in a space where even the crowd is polished.
“Every time, only once” reads the Yoda-meets-YOLO neon sign that guards the hotel entrance. Is it playful or serious? Like Ferris itself, it’s impossible to peg. The owners chose the name because they liked its cadence, its namesake wheel’s association with whimsy, and even the cavalier charisma of Mr. Bueller himself (they debated playing the ’80s classic’s signature soundtrack—Swiss band Yello’s “Oh Yeah”—on loop in the bathrooms).
The artfully plated dishes from Le Turtle vet Greg Proechel offer couture comfort food: slick black-tahini beets; crispy chopped octopus on a fluffy bed of squid-ink custard; and citrusy, charred broccolini on a plate. Savory starters blur into eachother with the same winning formula: a sweet add-in, creamy sauce and a bit of crunch. One of our favorites is the heavy Okinawan purple sweet potatoes, given texture with crispy skin and tangy pumpkin mustard. Another one, the cheese starter—a dreamy bowl of pillowy house-made buttermilk cheese—pairs smartly with juicy diced kiwi and crunchy radish slices. The bright-red bricks of duck breast are smoky, salty and robust with a richness that defies their simple presentation. The roasted sunchokes piled high with smoked cabbage, then drizzled in scallion miso, are balletic, balancing sharpness and earthiness.
To go full-on Ferris, finish with an order of dark chocolate mousse and enjoy the riddle of eating it. Stabbed with hefty shards of jasmine tea meringue, is it a confectionery chips-and-dip? Is the meringue best smashed into the mousse for a Pop Rocks-style tingle?
Do what you want. Ferris invites you to throw the rulebook out the window. Dinner moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.