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Is formal dining holding its own?


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QUOTE Perhaps the confusion arises because there are new optionsplaces like Momofuku Ssamwhere you get haute European cooking without most of the trappings. But it's a misconception to suggest that

First, anyplace that forces a male to wear ties is out.   Second, anyplace that feels like a Cathedral and forces hushed tones is out.   Third, anyplace the accepts reservations appears to be on

Just because something is a ten-course New Nordic tasting menu, that doesn't make it fine dining. You still have to see how good the ingredients are and the kitchen work is. It could still be ambitiou

Here's another way to think about it: people here who like chevalier and like that style of restaurant have said that they don't bet on chevalier succeeding. However, we can think of rooms with similar service models, rooms and cuisines that have next to no chance of failing. What is the difference?

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Which ones are you thinking of? In New York, the usual answer is a name chef or restaurateur extending his brand.

 

Betony is an exception, I guess, but when I think of Chevalier's peers in midtown--The Modern, Ai Fiore and Marea, Aureole--they're all extensions of empires.

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p.s. many greetings in Italian from genuinely Italian staff, not sure what to make of it.

Where is Adrian to decode that when you need him?

Del posto is an interesting case. its cool and it does a lot of things you'd expect would land it in the uncool camp (it also does a lot of thing right, of course). Batali + headley/ladner (esp headley) + four stars probably does it. I liked my meal at del posto - good service (not euro professional, but kind of meyer-ish) and good execution on the food, especially dessert.

 

 

I liked it too (because, you know, even if it's wet dough I want it well made) but it's still a ridiculous experience in many ways.

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I forgot to say that, given the Juni situation, I can easily imagine Wells not reviewing Chevalier.

The presence of Charles Masson would have forced him to.

 

The question is whether his departure STILL forces him to.

 

 

Even if you ignore Masson, Gallante had a Michelin star at Cru. And unlike Hergatt's last restaurant, the Times liked Cru. I heard through the grapevine that Bruni was seriously considering it for a fourth star, before it fell apart in the financial crisis. The Times also liked Ciano (Sifton).

 

Normally, a new restaurant from a chef the paper has liked in the past, is granted a review when he opens a new place. The non-review of Juni shows that there are exceptions, but normally you would expect a review, Masson or not.

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Which ones are you thinking of? In New York, the usual answer is a name chef or restaurateur extending his brand.

 

Betony is an exception, I guess, but when I think of Chevalier's peers in midtown--The Modern, Ai Fiore and Marea, Aureole--they're all extensions of empires.

 

I am not even sure that Betony is an exception. On its originial menu, every entrée except the Lobster was $29 or less. They've amped it up quite a bit since then (currently $95 PF), but that of course was a response to favorable reviews. It didn't open like any of the places Adrian is thinking of.

 

ETA: Come to think of it, I cannot name a successful new luxury restaurant in Manhattan in the last ~5–7 years, that wasn't part of a multi-restaurant brand extension. Of course, there are some for which the jury is still out, Chevalier being an obvious example.

 

I might be missing one or two (some of the sushi places), but still, there clearly aren't many.

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Prompted by Sneak's remarks about Atera:

 

I think something plausible has emerged from our months and years of discussion. It's hard to siphon $400-$500 per couple (millionaires excepted) without putting them in an ambience which feels upscale, special-occasion, and cossetting. The obvious ambience (in the west, anyway) derives from the deeply embedded history of the context we're talking about--restaurants. You can tweak the ambience in a Danny Meyer direction, or even in a David Chang direction (because the service at Momofuku Ko the times I've dined there has been as western as eastern). But coming up with something quite different is a challenge which has hardly been noticed, let alone addressed.

 

And I wonder how much incentive there is to address it. Does Sneak represent a groundswell of opinion among the target audiences?

 

It's hard, really hard, to step out of history.

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I forgot to say that, given the Juni situation, I can easily imagine Wells not reviewing Chevalier.

The presence of Charles Masson would have forced him to.

 

The question is whether his departure STILL forces him to.

 

 

Even if you ignore Masson, Gallante had a Michelin star at Cru. And unlike Hergatt's last restaurant, the Times liked Cru. I heard through the grapevine that Bruni was seriously considering it for a fourth star, before it fell apart in the financial crisis. The Times also liked Ciano (Sifton).

 

Normally, a new restaurant from a chef the paper has liked in the past, is granted a review when he opens a new place. The non-review of Juni shows that there are exceptions, but normally you would expect a review, Masson or not.

 

 

Yes, it occurred to me that for all our pessimism, Chevalier might expect to do very well with Michelin, just as Hergatt's restaurants always do. That might well sustain it.

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Actually, not only Atera but Brooklyn Fare -- if we count them as "luxury restaurants", which I think I'd argue you wouldn't.

 

You know, nine years after Degustation opened, the successful dining counter restaurants in New York, taken together, can probably accommodate less than 50 percent of one sitting at Daniel.

 

They're successful in the legitimate, but rather niche sense, of being able to fill 12 or 13 seats. (I think Atera expanded table seating since I was there.)

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