By WINNIE HU
The man in the purple suit knocked insistently until the metal door finally swung open on a recent afternoon. He bounded down the steps to a basement pool hall in the Bronx, where a worn lunch counter served some of the tastiest pork-and-okra stews and braised goat outside of the Dominican Republic.
It’s the real deal,” said the man, Justin Fornal, who is known as the wacky culinary explorer Baron Ambrosia, as he dug into a plate of pan-fried sticky rice with his fingers. “It’s Baron-approved.”
If New York City’s fine dining establishments live by Michelin stars and Zagat ratings, the myriad homegrown restaurants and shops of the Bronx have their own roving critic. Those that please the Baron’s palate are recommended to his fans and featured in his ever-expanding portfolio of media projects, which includes podcasts and two culinary-themed shows on the Cooking Channel and BronxNet, a local cable television network.