Bird on a Wire

Why your favorite chefs are obsessing over rotisserie grills

It's winter. You might have noticed. The polar vortex continues to do its mean thing. We're thinking of other, warmer spinning things: that merry-go-round-on-fire called rotisserie cooking.

Roasting things on a turning spit has been around forever but it's definitely a thing right now. In NYC, Danny Bowien stuffs his rotisserie chickens with chorizo, pecans and rice at his new Mission Cantina on the Lower East Side. A few blocks north, Andrew Carmellini serves a classic bronzed bird laced with sauce au vinaigre at Lafayette.

"There's something very essential about cooking rotisserie-style," says Georgette Farkas, owner of New York City's three-month-old Rôtisserie Georgette. "It's as primal as it gets."

At L.A.'s newly opened Republique, Walter Manzke adores his oak-fired rotisserie grill imported from Tuscany. He makes sure his guests can admire it, too.

"The restaurant layout was based around showing off the grill," says Manzke. "It connects people with the food."

It's a look and a style of cooking a lot of chefs are connecting to right now. A bank of impressive rotisseries will be central to the decor at the restaurant John Fraser plans to open this month inside André Balazs' revamped The Standard East Village hotel. In Boston, chefs Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier will soon open M.C. Spiedo, named for the Italian word for "spit."

"There's no better way to cook a chicken," Manzke says. "It's the ultimate comfort food."