To-Go TakesNew York

Crown Shy’s James Kent on the Merits of The Cheesecake Factory and Owning a Pizza Stone


To-Go Takes is Resy’s regular feature wherein we quiz the folks behind some of our favorite restaurants about all things related to takeout.  

In this edition, we speak to James Kent, the chef behind Crown Shy — arguably FiDi’s most exciting restaurant — currently open for outdoor dining, indoor dining, pickup, and delivery. Below, he shares some of his favorite takeout tips, tricks, cocktails, and regular stops.


Restaurant: Crown Shy
Name + Title: James Kent, Executive Chef

Resy: What’s your favorite dish from Crown Shy’s takeout menu?
Kent: My favorite dish from our takeout menu is our chicken — it’s definitely my favorite thing in the restaurant. Also, I think the sticky toffee pudding at home is incredible. It’s warm, it’s delicious, it’s yummy, it’s something that travels really well, and it represents what you get in the restaurant at home also, which is important.
Where are you getting takeout from and what are you ordering?
Joe’s Shanghai: I love Joe’s Shanghai. The soup dumplings are fire.
Nami Nori: Nami Nori is delicious; the guys over there are incredible. Delicious handrolls.
Joe’s Pizza: I’m from New York City, I grew up in Greenwich Village, and Joe’s is pound-for-pound best slice in New York City.
La Dinastia: We also get delivery from this Chino Cubano restaurant. It is on 72nd Street on the Upper West Side, and it’s incredible. We often have to drive up there to go get it, but it’s worth the drive. It’s Cuban and Chinese food mixed together.


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Best tip to amp up your takeout?
This is an incredible tip, something that I learned during quarantine: You need to have a pizza stone in your home, and always have it live in the oven. When you order a pizza, you turn your oven on to 500 degrees. The pizza will be at your house 20-30 minutes later, your oven is at 500 degrees, and before you eat the slice, you basically toast it on the stone for 30 seconds to a minute. It’s like a slice coming out of the deck oven from a New York City slice joint. It’s the best hack ever — I learned it from my neighbor, Dino.

What single restaurant dish would you walk miles for?
Well, I ran to Nami Nori from my building, which was like five miles. My wife and I ran there to have lunch, which was amazing. I think I’d probably walk to La Dinastia — I’d walk to the Upper West Side to go get Chino Cubano.


James Kent’s absolute favorite Crown Shy takeout item: the grilled, citrus-marinated chicken with hot sauce. Photo by Natalie Black, courtesy of Crown Shy


What was your first meal back once restaurants reopened?
Oh, this is a good one. My first restaurant meal indoors was at theCheesecake Factory in White Plains. Best ever. We were driving to Blue Hill in the middle of the summer, and it was like 110 degrees, so we decided instead of sitting outside in the sweltering heat, to go to the Cheesecake Factory. I told my kids, be prepared for the best menu in any restaurant ever. It has a thousand things on the menu — all incredibly mediocre — but just the volume makes up for how mediocre the food is. That was our first meal indoors.

But our first meal post-quarantine was at Boulud Sud, to celebrate my son’s graduation.

What do you miss most about restaurant?
What I miss most about restaurants is just the community aspect of dining. What we do every night is we throw a party for 200 of our closest friends and that’s what I miss. I also miss having a bar. We are actively doing indoor dining — and people love the restaurant — but our bar is the heart of the restaurant, which adds energy and life, and now it’s just a silent space, which I’m looking forward to getting back.

Another of Kent’s favorites on Crown Shy’s takeout menu is the sticky toffee pudding, with smoked pecans and apple sorbet. Photo by Natalie Black, courtesy of Crown Shy

Crown Shy is open for outdoor and indoor dining seven days a week for dinner. Get Crown Shy takeout and delivery here.