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Chevalier at The Baccarat


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When Del Posto opened, the general consensus was that "no one wants to dine that way anymore, and certainly not at an Italian restaurant". Frank Bruni was more favorable than most, but he noted the dissonance, and that was nine years ago, when the twilight of F3 fare was less apparent than it seems now:

 

Teaming for the first time with Mr. Bastianich's mother, Lidia, whose restaurant Felidia is a more relevant point of reference, the two men have challenged New Yorkers to accept Italian cuisine presented with fastidious rituals and opulent trappings usually reserved for French fare.

 

Their reward? I hear a lot of grousing that Del Posto feels soulless and spurious, that it's the culinary equivalent of an epic Hollywood folly: Dishtar. The naysaying makes me wonder whether many New Yorkers are as open to new experiences as they like to think. Del Posto dares to speak in an unfamiliar idiom, only to be told it has a phony accent.

 

I don't usually cite Adam Platt with approval, but I do now, if only because his judgment was something more like the consensus at the time:

 

As dinner unfolds at Del Posto, the new addition to the Mario Batali–Bastianich-family fine-dining empire, it’s hard to know whether you’ve entered restaurant nirvana or some strange, slightly comical pastiche of what an opulent five-star restaurant should be. . . .For grizzled Batali veterans (like me), this is all a little strange and unsettling, like watching a troop of lumberjacks tiptoe their way through a ballet.

 

A lot had to change, before Sifton finally gave it four stars.

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I saw that the Baccarat's bar is opening tonight. No date yet for the main restaurant, Chevalier. This is the place Charles Masson will be running, with Shea Gallante in the kitchen. Modern take on

I recall the good old days when I went to a restaurant for the food. Now I have all these other things to worry about to determine if I had a good time.

I've been to that downstairs bar twice, and both times got a seat with no trouble at all.   I went upstairs only once. The bar was such a madhouse that a guy in a suit wouldn't even let me in the do

Here's a questions: there are complaints being made about chevalier of the sort that we never hear about Jean George's, granercy tavern, emp or del posto. You probably won't hear those complaints about kreuthers new place. Why are those not applicable?

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Haven't been to Chevalier yet, but consider this:

 

When I see old videos of Julia in her black and white days, she demystifies French food to make it seem approachable to Americans.

 

For instance, she describes boeuf bourguignon as "beef stew made with red wine". Doesn't seem so posh now, does it?

 

Maybe that kind of thing needs to happen more often.

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Why do you think we won't hear complaints about Kreuther's place? And what's the relevant difference between JG and Chevalier?

 

The actual service at JG, rather than a Platonic ideal of it, is stuffier than Chevalier and in my experience sometimes poor. (I've only been to Chevalier once; JG has had many more opportunities to be snooty and/or inefficient.)

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Here's a questions: there are complaints being made about chevalier of the sort that we never hear about Jean George's, granercy tavern, emp or del posto. You probably won't hear those complaints about kreuthers new place. Why are those not applicable?

 

My hypothesis is that if JG opened today, there would be complaints. At some point, you've been around long enough, and people accept that "you are what you are".

 

As I noted above, Del Posto was greeted with very similar complaints when it opened. If it had been a stand-alone restaurant, not part of a large empire, I am not sure it would have survived long enough to reach the groove it now has.

 

A lot of people find EMP very pretentious now, albeit for not the same reasons. Instead of "Monsieur", the waiters do magic tricks. Of course, it's on the S. Pellegrino list now, and could run for years on the juice that list supplies.

 

Gramercy Tavern, I think, is not the same genre. It does not strike me as an applicable comparison.

 

As for Kreuther's new restaurant, why don't we wait to see what it actually is, before we review it.

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Here's a questions: there are complaints being made about chevalier of the sort that we never hear about Jean George's, granercy tavern, emp or del posto. You probably won't hear those complaints about kreuthers new place. Why are those not applicable?

:+1:

 

The random bits of French were not that big a deal. Honestly. I can't believe we've spent as much talking about that as we have, because it didn't obviously didn't matter enough for anybody other than me to have even brought it up, and probably I only noticed because it made me remember how awkward I felt in Paris for not speaking any French.

 

Sneakeater obviously sees the crowd at Chevalier as being very different from that at most restaurants, but being a gauche ignorant youngster, I just saw it as being yet another dining room full of olds, which is not unusual for more upscale places.

 

We're left with Baccarat being a bad brand and Shea Gallante not being so much of a media darling. The dining room is really not that over-the-top (and not really all that good in its genre of dining rooms).

 

So what exactly is wrong with Chevalier that we complain about it so much? It's ultimately not that different.

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"Complaints"? Taion said someone called him Monsieur, and everyone would like to knock $4 off the cocktails.

I'm also still miffed that I got charged 25% more than you for roughly the same thing.

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@Taion: Now there's a valid complaint.

 

People may be imagining the room to be something other than it is. It's a Stephen Sills design...I can't describe it in a sentence, but it's modern. The front room at Bouley is much more like a grand French chateau.

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"Complaints"? Taion said someone called him Monsieur, and everyone would like to knock $4 off the cocktails.

I'm also still miffed that I got charged 25% more than you for roughly the same thing.

 

Not that you should be happy about this, but it's not uncommon for prices to move around during the opening period. I doubt it's anything like: "This guy looks like a chump. Let's charge him more, see if he notices."

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People may be imagining the room to be something other than it is. It's a Stephen Sills design...I can't describe it in a sentence, but it's modern. The front room at Bouley is much more like a grand French chateau.

What to say about the room.

 

Consider this picture:

 

YC0bkaZl.jpg

 

Now, the camera always lies, because it sees light very differently. And the photographer's job is to lie even more with the camera. For example, Louro never actually looked like this inside:

 

Z1acdTtl.jpg

oFxbbhYl.jpg

 

The lighting was just such that, while that may be a picture of the restaurant, it just didn't actually look that way to your eyes.

 

Chevalier's room feels dark-ish, and the recessed lights behind the banquettes in the walls and the red lighting behind the bottles in the center of the picture are a lot more prominent. Those are by far the most visually prominent light sources.

 

You end up feeling like you're in a dark windowless room with oddly bright walls, and a big annoying blotch of red light off to the side.

 

It's pretty much a generic nice modern formal dining room. You'd never mistake it in a million years for something like:

 

t5jrhp5.jpg

 

Mostly because it has zero natural light, and the artificial lighting is miserable and awful.

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I'm not trying to pick on Louro out of spite - I had this example handy because I know we're all familiar with the restaurant, and I know first (well, second) hand how painful the postprocessing work on those photos was.

 

If it weren't for that obnoxious red lighting, I'm not sure I'd be able to identify that first photo as Chevalier.

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"Complaints"? Taion said someone called him Monsieur, and everyone would like to knock $4 off the cocktails.

I'm also still miffed that I got charged 25% more than you for roughly the same thing.

 

 

That British accent is magic.

 

geico_gecko.jpeg

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