O Pedro, chef Hussain Shahzad's joyful tribute to Goan cuisine, will be the fourth restaurant-in-residence at Intersect by Lexus.

By Maria Yagoda
November 14, 2019
Courtesy of O Pedro

Starting in February, New York City can claim one of India's best restaurants as its own—at least for four months. Chef Hussain Shahzad is bringing his acclaimed Goan restaurant, O Pedro, to Intersect by Lexus, marking the program's fourth restaurant-in-residence since launching in 2018. 

Located in the heart of Mumbai's business district, O Pedro celebrates the complexity of Goan cuisine and its Portuguese influences, while channeling the southwest coast of India's sunny sensibility with bright cocktails and decor. At Intersect by Lexus, Shahzad will serve O Pedro's most popular dishes and drinks, spotlighting Goan ingredients and techniques through a cross-cultural lens that examines Portuguese colonization. 

Courtesy of O Pedro

Shahzad, who traveled extensively in Goa and Portugual before opening O Pedro in 2017, is particularly interested in reviving waning traditions like woodfired breadmaking. Every table at O Pedro—and soon its iteration in New York—gets the Goan yeast-levened bread.

"Yeast was first introduced to India by the Portuguese, and now it’s so Indian," says Shahzad. "There are these cross-cultural references that exist in Portugual and India. The art of bread-making was taught to us by the Portuguese. We make it in the most traditional way possible, with the woodfire oven. It's a dying art that O Pedro is trying to preserve and pass down for years to come."

Courtesy of O Pedro

Shahzad says that cooking with wine and vinegar doesn’t exist in any other part of India besides Goa, because of the Portuguese, who were also the first to bring chilies and cheesemaking to India. "Since we started at O Pedro, the idea of digging deeper, as opposed to looking wider, kicked in," said Shahzad. "Indian food in general is not well documented. The only way you learn more is physically going out there and searching."

To replicate O Pedro in New York, Shahzad will bring over some ingredients from India (mostly spices and dried goods), though he's not too concerned about finding what he needs in New York City, "where there's nothing you can't source." The menu isn't finalized, but diners can expect O Pedro's famous bread, and likely a slow-roasted piece of pork neck (in the style of Portuguese assada) with chilies, garlic, pepper, and ginger. Shahzad is pretty certain a crepe cake layered with ice cream will also make the menu; the dessert is inspired by Goa's Catholic community, which often celebrates Fat Tuesday with a crepe stuffed with coconut and cashews. 

Courtesy of O Pedro

"If you’re sitting in an office in India and bored of your day, the place that comes to your mind is Goa," says Sameer Seth, Shahzad's partner and CEO of the restaurant group that also opened The Bombay Canteen. "Goa is the land you go to forget your troubles."

Shahzad, Seth, Yash Bhanage, and culinary director Floyd Cardoz will collaborate with Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group and Intersect executive chef Nick Martinez to bring the restaurant to life in the 16,500-square-foot Meatpacking space, which will also include a café, bar, lounge, and two gallery spaces.

Courtesy of O Pedro

O Pedro will run from February to June, following the first three restaurants-in-residence: Frenchie from French chef Gregory Marchand, 040 from Chile's Sergio Barroso, and Mishiguene from Argentina's Tomas Kalika.

Intersect by Lexus, 412 West 14th Street New York, NY.

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