Creative Mind: James Kent
With the opening of SAGA in Manhattan, the innovative chef adds another culinary hit to his impressive portfolio
Just when almost every fancy restaurant had turned to delivery and sumptuous dining rooms had been traded for curbside tents, chef James Kent did the unthinkable: He opened a fine-dining, multicourse extravaganza. Located on the southernmost tip of Manhattan, SAGA soars 63 stories above the city, offering views as astonishing as the tasting menu Kent reimagined for a new generation of foodies, who want the experience to be more “comfortable and fun”—and filled with flavor.
The chef, who also helms the kitchen at Overstory, the upstairs cocktail bar, as well as nearby Crown Shy, says, “Some courses feel fancy and others more communal.” For example, the main course features his version of a tagine, inspired by his father’s life in Morocco and served with various vessels filled with pressed yogurt with persimmon and Meyer lemon, hummus, harissa, and other accoutrements, inviting guests to make the dish their own. “We want you to fight over food,” he explains of the presentation.
“It’s the evolution of my palate and our generation’s palate”James Kent
The flavors even get spicy at certain points: “It’s the evolution of my palate and our generation’s palate.” Kent pulls from a range of references for each dish, especially the fluke course, which nods to his experience growing up fishing on Long Island. Next up, he plans on turning the terraces into grilling stations. For Kent, the sky really is the limit.
A version of this article first appeared in print in our 2022 Spring Issue under the headline “Creative Minds.” Subscribe to the magazine.