photo by Melissa Hom

We’ve asked many chefs to name the most underrated toque among their ranks, and one of the most common answers is Harold Moore, the hard-working guy who commands the line at Commerce, named for the tree-lined West Village street it’s tucked into. Moore burned out on fine dining after years in respectable kitchens, and so he opened a place where he could make food with world-class ingredients and serve it in a warm, casual environment. His approach is embodied in his green salad with 20 herbs and lettuces, a thoughtful take on a dish that’s normally an afterthought — here, we’d never start a meal without ordering one. The rest of the menu is personal and eclectic, and though it’s rooted in America, it draws influence from many traditions. Moore’s regulars love the chicken for two, the short rib ravioli, and the coconut cake; marinated hamachi and Thai-style red snapper, he says, will never come off the menu, either. Moore is friendly with much of NYC’s industry, so you’ll often see chefs in on their nights off. Maybe it’s just our luck, but every time we’ve been in the dining room here, we’ve also spotted a celebrity, presumably trying to fly under the radar over a low-key meal and drink.