Since its opening six months ago, Ferris {44 West 29 Street, New York; 212.213.4420;} has gained a flurry of attention for its inventive dishes made with unexpected global ingredients. Executive Chef Greg Proechel—who made his mark at Lower East Side’s Le Turtle and Eleven Madison Park—steers the ship alongside Food and Beverage Director/ Partner Charles Seich. When asked to sum up the buzzing restaurant, Proechel had only one word: exciting.

Centrally located in the North of Madison Square Park (NoMad) District, Ferris joins the ranks of numerous other venerable neighborhood eateries. Ferris’ home—the chic, boutique MADE Hotel—is among a multitude of NoMad hotels that vie for the bookings of tourists and business travelers. “While we do have the pleasure to serve some of the hotel’s guests, the majority of our clientele are made up of our NoMad neighbors and the massive, foodie community in New York City,” Proechel says, “We love them all.”

Interior at Ferris {44 West 29 Street, New York; 212.213.4420;}

Decked in warm woods, hand-painted Japanese tiles, and hues of blues and gold, this subterranean restaurant is surprisingly airy and bright. “We wanted the room to feel comfortable with design elements that are understated,” says Proechel on the quaint 40-seater restaurant. “We are welcoming our guests into our home, so we wanted Ferris to feel homey while still having the sentiment of a communal dining room.” The compact, open kitchen—bordered by a large butcher block—allows for both a dinner and a show. Snagging a seat at the chef’s counter offers a bird’s-eye view of the creative process, as well as access to Chef Proechel. “Communicating and interacting with guests is something I really enjoy,” he smiles. “It’s one of the more fun aspects of the open kitchen layout.”

Cote de Boeuf at Ferris Restaurant

From the Chips & Dip (chicharrones alongside chicken liver mousse) to the Okinawa Sweet Potato with pumpkin mustard and buttermilk, it becomes clear that inventiveness is the thread that binds Ferris’ menu together. “I generally don’t have a mindset for a dish; thoughts come and go, as does inspiration,” Chef Proechel admits. “Honestly, a lot of my food that I create comes from dishes that inspire me.” A mad scientist in the kitchen, Proechel brings together ingredients that may seem disparate, but make perfect sense when they hit the palate. “I don’t select ingredients based on locality or a direction, just things I think will work well. It’s through the trial and error of plating and eating a dish that the true essence becomes more apparent.” A fan favorite, the minimum 60-day dry-aged Côte de Boeuf comes with “all the fixings,” sparking intrigue for the uninitiated. “Our food is served with many small accompaniments that all have a central theme, which is the onion or alliums, in general. We have charred cipollini onions with a whipped buttermilk on top, potato dumplings with an onion consomme, and black garlic jam made with the remnants of the consomme process.” In addition, each night features a handful of specials. The menu changes as inspiration strikes, according to Proechel. Signature desserts include Yuzu Frozen Yogurt with wakamomo (Japanese baby green peaches) and chocolate mousse, sprinkled with shards of jasmine meringue.

Chocolate Mousse at Ferris

The cocktail menu is as compelling as the cuisine, thoughtfully crafted by married mixologists Jeremy Oertel and Natasha David. “I have worked with Jeremy and Natasha in the past, and really love their approach to developing a cocktail menu,” says Proechel. “At Ferris, we are able to work together to develop cocktails that are not only beautiful and delicious, but that work hand-in-hand with the design of the space and the food.” According to Chef Proechel, The Ninth Petal is the best illustration of this. Putting a spin on the gin martini, the cocktail features a splash of plum brandy, garnished with a lemon twist, shiso, and umeboshi. “The presentation of the drink is simple yet elegant; the garnishes speak to some of the Asian influence on our food menus. We serve this drink in a small martini glass with a sidecar, so the guest can top themselves off. Much like with the plating of our Côte de Boeuf and Duck on the Crown, we love for the presentation to have an element of surprise and generosity.” Overall, these elements have proven successful for Ferris, as the restaurant is generally booked a week or two in advance. However, devoted regulars and eager newbies alike needn’t worry; plans for expansion are in the works.Eau De Spa at Ferris RestaurantBy Jessica D’Amico | photos by Noah Fecks