They’re Baaaack

by Michael Gross Photographed by Michael Gross
Saturday, August 11, 2018

It seemed like Charles Bronfman, Steve Rattner, Donald Zilkha and Joseph Abboud had never left when AVENUE had lunch with them Thursday, the second day of pre-opening “friends and family” meals at the all-new The Four Seasons.  Two years after their abrupt departure from the Seagram Building, owner-operators Alex von Bidder and Julian Niccolini have thrown open their new doors, just past the brass sign with their famous logo, a mere three blocks to the south and across Park Avenue from their former premises, now at 42 East 49th Street. 

The glamorous new space boasts a Star-Wars-ish entrance chamber with a wall that wooshes open automatically to let guests onto the first stage of this theater of power dining, an all new Bar Room, with a huge square sunken bar at the center, surrounded by tables for informal meals.  The south wall opens onto a long dark metal corridor that leads to the main dining room, with its ceiling hung with a sculpture of rods and lights reminiscent of the bar outside the original restaurant’s Grill Room, but different enough to feel both comfortably Modernist and altogether new.  The eight-figure restaurant–it’s quietly clear no expense has been spared–was designed by Brazilian architect Isay Weinfeld.  As in the past, the 33 tables are widely spaced to encourage the kind of conversations that take place in power restaurants, while the room’s wide, open vistas gives diners the assurance of the consoling proximity of others like themselves.

They don’t need the restaurant to make a show of dining for them; they’re a good enough show themselves.

And the food?  The opening menu designed by Diego Garcia, a product of Le Bernardin’s demanding kitchen, offers the fresh, flavorful simplicity that has long been the restaurant’s signature.  Bill Yosses, the Obama family’s White House pastry chef, offers a counterpoint with rich desserts (see the opening menu in the gallery above). 

On a second level, the Four Seasons also offers private rooms for dining, champagne sipping, and small parties.  It seems fair to predict they’ll all be hopping this fall, as power players both old and new flock back to this old favorite, reborn.  



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