Where do chefs go and, more importantly, where do they love to eat? In Resy Regulars, we ask Resy chefs to tell us where they’re regulars.
In this edition, we’re chatting with Preston Clark, who took over the executive chef mantle at Lure Fishbar in 2014 after a lifetime spent in restaurants.
Clark’s own family lineage includes a number of heralded New York chefs. His chef grandfather paved the way for his own father, Patrick, who famously pioneered a style of casual yet refined French dining to a generation of Americans in the 1980s, and racked up accolades and awards for that endeavor. That his father was the rare Black chef in a predominantly white field with its own intrinsic biases added yet another notch to his achievement.
Through the ’80s and ’90s, Preston followed in his father’s footsteps, literally trailing him to work at The Odeon in Tribeca and Cafe Luxembourg in the Upper West Side. Too young to be allowed in the kitchen, he’d eat in the dining rooms while waiting for his father to pop out.
“I was 10 or 11, and I remember having my first crock of French onion soup at Cafe Luxembourg,” says Preston. “There was this depth of flavor from the caramelized onions. And then so many different textures from the bread and the cheese. My love for French food started there.”
Food aside, he grew to appreciate the long windows and casual vibes of bistros — all while absorbing life lessons from his dad. Words of wisdom that he still recalls and recites to this day include: “What you do now sets the precedent for what you can do later,” and “One of the keys to success is persistence.”
Patrick passed away in 1998, but Preston, then 16, carried the baton. After stints at Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago and Cafe Meze in Hartsdale, N.Y., Preston went on to cook at Jean-Georges, where he climbed the ranks from line cook to sous chef. But it was during his decade at Lure Fishbar (“My dad’s lesson on persistence really paid off,” he says) that he’s expanded on his classical French foundation, with his own repertoire that includes lobster-and-crab ravioli in uni cream and an innovative program of dressed oysters. Preston drips pineapple and Thai chile relish on beau soleil; ponzu and sliced jalapeños on kusshi; wasabi leaf on kumamoto.
On his evenings off, he goes back to his childhood love for French restaurants. From birthday splurges with his girlfriend to Thursday night hangouts with his friends, here are Preston Clark’s go-to French spots in New York.