Dining

November Noshes

Friday, November 9, 2018
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Well-loved East Side bistro Chat Noir shuttered this spring after more than a decade because of a gas leak in the building, but it looks like the space at 22 East 66th Street has found new owners. The Maccioni family plans to take over the first-floor brownstone space, bringing their iconic French restaurant Le Cirque back to its original ’hood. “This will have the feel of the original Le Cirque,” assures Mauro Maccioni, who explains that there will be tableside service of dishes for two, such as whole roasted duck, striped bass and veal shank. But there might be one point of difference; there is an ongoing negotiation to turn the upstairs floor into a 70-seat private club and lounge space, co-owned by real estate developer and reality TV personality Harry Dubin. “We will have a separate menu serving lighter food up there,” says Maccioni.


Milanese restaurateurs Antonio Sinesi and Claudio Della Monica, who own Al Valentino, a favorite of the fashion crowd, are opening an intimate spot called Il Divo at 1347 Second Avenue. “It has always been my dream to come to New York,” says Sinesi, who is bringing some of his modern art collection over to adorn the walls. Massimo Sola, who earned a Michelin star, will act as his consulting chef, and the menu will change monthly. Among the offerings will be chickpea soup with fresh ricotta and crunchy bacon; risotto cacio è pepe, made with pecorino, pepper and cardamom broth; and veal cheeks on soft potatoes and lavender puree.


Veteran chef Roger Souvereyns, who was one of the first to offer a farm-to-table concept, and is about to release his fifth cookbook, has come out of kitchen retirement to become consulting chef at Majorelle in the Lowell hotel. He is traveling to the restaurant from Belgium once every few weeks to create new menu items, such as herb and flower salad with beetroot sherry vinaigrette; artichoke hearts with steamed foie gras; curried langoustines with frisée and apple; and grilled salmon with rhubarb and asparagus tips. “Roger is a master and an artist,” says Charles Masson, the restaurant’s owner, who used to oversee his family’s iconic restaurant La Grenouille. “Roger would come [there] and quietly hop into the kitchen. He puts together a harmony of herbs that brings out the true value of each vegetable. Chefs like Jean-Georges [Vongerichten], Daniel [Boulud] and Gabriel Kreuther look up to him.” The Lowell will also be relaunching the Pembroke Room this fall, offering afternoon tea and a pre-theater menu.


“Cuisine vagabonde” is what the husband and wife team of 24-year-old chef Andrea Calstier and Elena Oliver, along with their close friend mixologist Nicolas Thoni, call the voyage-inspired food at Papilles, their new 11-seat boîte on East 7th Street. The menu includes such selections as roasted veal tenderloin with kabocha squash, maitake and cappuccino veal jus, and duck breast with figs, chanterelles, parsnips and Tasmanian pepper. The wine list is not the sort you find at your typical East Village establishment: Château Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac, Grand Cru Classé, can be found in the reserve section for more than $2,000.


West 20th Street between Park Avenue and Broadway has become a restaurant destination unto itself. In addition to Gramercy Tavern, Nur, Sugarfish and Le Coq Rico, Il Mulino has taken over a space at 43 East 20th Street and Stefano Secchi will open a trattoria called Rezdôra at 27 East 20th Street. Secchi, a chef whose family has owned Italian restaurants in Dallas for decades, will focus on the region of Emilia-Romagna, offering an array of fresh pastas and ragus, raviolis that change seasonally, and dishes like braised beef cheeks with twelve-hour slow-cooked onions.


One special place to cozy up for drinks with friends over the holiday season is Ophelia, the year-round rooftop lounge near the U.N. This winter it will morph into a “snow globe,” with the installation of more than 20,000 lightbulbs, and special holiday food and cocktail menus. 


Upper West Side favorite Bustan, a forerunner in the Middle Eastern food trend, has a new chef. Eli Buliskeria has worked at some of Tel Aviv’s top restaurants, including Herbert Samuel, and will be bringing such new dishes as burrata with warm Moroccan beet ragù, smoked eggplant carpaccio and taboon-roasted octopus to the menu.


Acme in Nolita also has new talent at the helm. Thomas Romero, who earned his pedigree at DB Bistro Moderne and Empellón Taqueria, has become executive chef, adding such creations as beef tartare with Korean pear, wood ear mushrooms and tea egg; and corn risotto with red wine–braised oxtail, roasted poblanos and pecorino Calabrese.


Sushi fans who find it hard to stomach the $300 per person price tag at Sushi Noz on East 78th Street will have a less costly alternative in November, when the restaurant opens the Ash Room, where its omakase will be a more humble $175. “This will give guests who want a more casual style the opportunity to experience Sushi Noz,” says co-owner Joshua Foulquier.


CORRECTION:  The name of a third partner at Papilles did not appear in the original version of this report.  Nicolas Thoni’s name has now been added.  


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