Michael Anthony never predicted the runaway success of Gramercy Tavern’s smoked trout with onions. “It’s a dish that, when I created it, I thought would be around for about two weeks,” he admits. “It’s such a simple dish, I wasn’t sure it would hold people’s attention.”

Now, it’s so popular that he’s craftily trying to figure out how to take it off the menu without upsetting the regulars. He’s happy that people love the trout so much, but Gramercy Tavern’s seasonal approach to cooking—taking what’s most delicious and fresh from the greenmarket, and using technique to coax out the best flavors—has always been about change and evolution, not sticking with the same ideas.

Whether it stays or goes, the dish is close to Anthony’s heart—it was inspired by one of his mentors, Wayne Nish, at March—and it certainly represents the style of cooking that helped him win a James Beard award for Best Chef: New York City in 2012. 

“If we can keep dishes as unmanipulated as this one, and find some essential flavor combinations that works, as well as some basic techniques that in this case are primitive, then we’re hitting on something really powerful,” he says.

Watch the video above to see Anthony discuss Gramercy Tavern’s connections to the farmers market, and how he brought a Weber grill into a haute-cuisine kitchen.

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