Interview with Bar Primi’s Chef-Partner Sal Lamboglia

For the month of September, The Dutch Miami will feature a special Miami Spice menu consisting of select dishes from NYC’s Bar Primi! The famed pasta shop led by Chefs Andrew Carmellini and Sal Lamboglia specializes in traditional and seasonal primi piatti using non-GMO semolina and specialty ‘00’ flours, organic eggs and family recipes.

I was so fortunate to be able to sit down and chat with Chef Sal Lamboglia who came down from NYC to lead the pop-up.  Chef Lamboglia was one of Zagat’s 30 under 30 in 2014.  He is a chef-partner at Bar Primi which opened in May 2014 in NYC’s Noho neighborhood.

YHMAF: What inspired the Bar Primi Pop-Up at The Dutch during Miami Spice?

SL: A few different reasons; trying incorporate some buzz down here, bringing some Italian flavors to Miami and to do something different and be creative for the month of Spice.  We have a bunch of great restaurants in New York and why not bring one of them down here?

YHMAF: What is the driving force behind your passion for cooking?  Is it because of your family having been in the business, to create an experience for others, or is it your own creative outlet?

SL: All of the above.  My dad was in it for a long time, my uncle was a baker, the other one was a butcher.  I love to play host even if it’s for two people at the house, some friends or my parents; setting it all up with beverages and pairing, etc.  Obviously, the food more so because I grew up in a family where food was really the main focus.  It’s always been a big part of who I am.

YHMAF: Do you travel to Miami a lot?

SL: A few times. Not as often as I want to but I love coming here; the beach, the weather and of course having The Dutch down here is great.  It’s nice to see a lot of the same faces here.  There are people here from when The Dutch first opened.  I was here for 6 months (helping to open the restaurant) and the first few months were rough. You know, no New York Pizza, and my family, etc. but as time went on I actually didn’t want to leave.

YHMAF: How long have you been working with Andrew Carmellini?

SL: The only person who I have worked for professionally has been Andrew Carmellini.  So, going on 10 years.  As a student, I approached him one night at a James Beard Awards’ when I was drunk and I told him I could make pasta just as good as he can.

YHMAF: Besides The Dutch, what are some of your favorite places to eat at in Miami?

SL: I like Yardbird a lot.  They’ve been around for a while and they’re still doing some pretty good food.  Also, La Sandwicherie.  When I was out here a lot we ate at some places like Zuma, etc.  We were here (at The Dutch) a lot so it was a lot of family meals.  When Broken Shaker opened up we had some drinks there.  It’s a good spot.

YHMAF: What did you eat yesterday?

SL: I had a fried chicken sandwich from The Dutch for lunch.  For dinner, I made myself some garlic and oil to remind myself of home and it’s on the menu up there.  It’s a simple spaghetti dish; lots of garlic, olive oil, toasted bread crumbs on top, and some cheese.

YHMAF:  What’s your favorite dish on the menu tonight?  I know there’s a Sal’s Antipasti dish…

SL: That one is a take on what you would find in an Italian deli case.  Olives, peppers, meats, cheeses, and lots of greens and garlic.  My favorite one has to be the rigatoni.  It’s probably the most Southern plate on the menu.  Crushed tomatoes, some fresh mozzarella cheese, eggplant, ricotta on top, lots of basil.  It’s an old school Sicilian kind of dish.  Neapolitan as well.

YHMAF: Lastly, if you weren’t a chef what else would you be or what could you see yourself doing besides anything culinary?

SL: Way way early on….I was in kitchens when I was 12 years old, working with my uncle and with some family which was great and I had fun and that’s where it all started.  But, I was in a couple of school plays in elementary school and for a short time I wanted to be an actor.  But once I started to realize the path I was heading down was food related I said that’s it.  Food all the way.

For a taste of Bar Primi in Miami head to The Dutch at the W Hotel in South Beach.  Bar Primi’s select dishes are available exclusively on their Miami Spice menu through the end of September.  Don’t miss your chance! Click here for the menu!


*Disclaimer: Some paraphrasing may have been used to achieve clarity and conciseness.  

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