Chef Floyd Cardoz (His Legacy. . . To Me)

This morning, I was busy figuring out when Governor Cuomo would be giving his daily press conference as I was feeling particularly bummed out by the COVID-19 maelstrom.  I was about two hours behind reading the news that Chef Floyd Cardoz had passed due to complications from the coronavirus. I first texted the story to friends with whom I had last shared a meal with at his now-shuttered Bombay Bread Bar. 

I did not know Floyd Cardoz’s name the many, many years I patronized Tabla in NYC.  I enjoyed the food, the ambience and always preferred the more casual bread bar to the finer dining happening upstairs.  This was in part due to the fact that I did not want to plan ahead and preferred impromptu meet ups with friends. One friend worked in a part of town convenient to the Flatiron district and so I would guess we went there at least 100 times over many years.  I recall orchestrating a company lunch to be held there. I just loved the vibe and the food. The one time I had a problem with the service, I was comped a meal and a Zagat guidebook! I know the latter was from the hand of Danny Meyer but still, I think of Tabla as being Chef Cardoz’s house. 

I was bummed when Chef Cardoz left NYC and very excited to see his return with Paowalla.  I dined there in the first month, and would sit at the bar for a meal on my own later. When he pivoted the restaurant to the Bombay Bread Bar, I picked up the phone as soon as I saw the news to make a reservation.  I was stunned to realize that the voice on the other end was Floyd Cardoz himself. He was very cordial on the phone and made a point to stop by and say hello to my table on the actual reservation date. Most chefs at his level, *if* they bother talking to regular diners, are rarely as warm. In reading the eulogic articles from Pete Wells at the New York Times and Ryan Sutton at Eater, it seems this was part of his M.O.  

But back to his cooking. As I have written about, I partake in a regular Supper Club where I choose the cuisine and menu. For our Indian dinner, I looked to Chef Cardoz for inspiration for the chaat and curry dishes.  

Sigh. I write this to add to Chef Cardoz’s legacy, which ended far too early.