At Hav + Mar, Seafood, Sustainability, and Art Find Common Ground


Nearly 12 years ago, Marcus Samuelsson opened Red Rooster in Harlem, a cheerful supper club–slash–artists salon that forever changed the shape of New York’s restaurant scene. People came for the food—a pleasing patchwork of Southern comfort and Ethiopian and Swedish staples (a nod to Samuelsson’s roots)—but stayed, and continued to come back, for the unique sense of community found along its crimson banquettes.

Like Red Rooster, Hav + Mar, Samuelsson’s new spot in Chelsea, is a full expression of the chef’s worldview, now heavily influenced by the events of the past two years. “During the pandemic, I really thought about going back to nature,” he says. “I was asking myself: What are the restaurants post-pandemic going to look like? What’s important to me?” He found his answer in ancestral foods—berbere-cured salmon with injera; lobster and crab with rice and peas; farm-fresh vegetables (Hav + Mar combines the Swedish word for “ocean” and the Amharic word for “honey”)—and an emphasis on sustainability and diversity. “It’s a huge privilege to do a big restaurant in New York, and if you’re going to do it, you have to put everything you have into it,” Samuelsson says. “This is a place where Black excellence is going to be celebrated outside Harlem, so our goal is to work with Black and BIPOC winemakers and farmers.”

Photographed by Flo Ngala, Vogue, September 2022.

Women of color make up the restaurant’s core leadership team, including executive chef Rose Noël (previously of Maia­lino Mare in Washington, D.C.), general manager Franshelis Montalvo, chef de cuisine Fariyal Abdullahi, and head baker Farheen Jafarey (an alumna of Red Rooster). “At Hav + Mar, we are Ethiopian, Haitian, Pakistani, Swedish,” says Noël, the daughter of Haitian immigrants. “We start every meeting, every session together, drawing in those influences.”

It was equally essential that Hav + Mar, which is open daily for lunch and dinner, reflect the creative spirit of its neighborhood. (It sits on the ground floor of the historic Starrett-​Lehigh building on West 26th Street and 11th Avenue.) Enter artist Derrick Adams, a friend and collaborator of Samuelsson’s for about a decade. “I don’t cook and he doesn’t paint, but I think we get inspired by the passions we both have,” Adams says. At the new restaurant, he wanted to contribute something that spoke to both the soul food–seafood fare and Samuelsson’s focus on Black creativity; he settled on the motif of the Black mermaid, which appears in various sizes and bright, patterned materials throughout the light-flooded space.



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