Ruling The Upper East Side: John DeLucie at Crown

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Ruling the upper east side

 Crown is in a beautiful old mansion on a beautiful block and it was an opportunity for us to create an upscale and amazing experience.

Step through the thick mahogany doors of Crown and you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported not only into a different city, but also a different decade. Black-andwhite photographs of gentlemen in tuxedos and ladies wearing flapper dresses dot the wall above the long wooden bar, while old-fashioned oil lamps flicker in the 1930s era grand dining room. Local celebrities including Madonna, Hugh Jackman, Brian Williams, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger rub elbows with Wall Street power players in the elegant glass-covered atrium over mouthfuls of handkerchief pasta.

Chef and Proprietor John DeLucie tells Haute Living about his Upper East Side kingdom.

Was food a big part of your childhood?
I grew up in a very large Italian family with lots of yelling and screaming, like an Italian family should have, and food was involved in every single thing that we ever did.

What was your first job?
I worked as a headhunter to the insurance industries so I would take someone out of a pretty lousy job and place them into an equally lousy job and collect a fee.

What prompted you to change careers?
I had always been interested in cooking and had cooked as a hobby pretty much my whole life. When I really wasn’t interested in doing headhunting anymore, I thought to myself, I just have to cook. I took a culinary class at The New School and I learned how to make soups and stocks and slice and dice.

What inspired you to open Crown?
Crown is in a beautiful old mansion on a beautiful block and it was an opportunity for us to create an upscale and amazing experience.

Describe the vibe of Crown in three words.
I can do it in one word… elegant.

What appetizer, entrée and dessert is Crown best known for?
We have a phenomenal mushroom salad and our handkerchief pasta is completely off the charts. For dessert, the chocolate soufflé is maybe the best one in New York.

Is there an ingredient that you love to feature on the menu?
We love to cook with seasonal ingredients that are grown locally. We also love truffles… and our guests love them even more!

What separates Crown from other fine dining establishments in the city?
I think Crown is elegant, but it’s also fun to come here. The menu is accessible and we have a great wine and cocktail list.

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