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Chevalier at The Baccarat


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Of course, the instant I walked into the place, I knew that this style is not remotely fashionable among the vast majority of restaurant taste-makers in NYC. Indeed, I strongly suspected this would be the case, even before setting foot in the place. My fears were confirmed.

 

I'd like to think that a few others, besides Wilfrid and myself, would recognize how truly shallow the objections really are; how little real substance they have. The hotel is named for a luxury crystal company: is that really the best you can do?

 

It's the reverse-Ssäm problem. When it was new, that restaurant's supporters had to argue (to the doubters) that objections to it were shallow, and if you cared about great food, you really needed to be there — even if the counter dining aesthetic, and all the other trappings, weren't your first preference.

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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

As I think I said earlier, it would be much easier for people to reject the place if the food was disappointing or if it was evidently over-priced (I don't mean the screwdriver). They're a little stymied because of the kitchen's excellence.

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The odd thing is, there are no comments here about Ralph Lauren's new place, which is in the same neighborhood, is pretty damned expensive, where no one has asserted great importance for the food, and where they have a truly obnoxious door policy (still in place as of yesterday).

 

Maybe that's what Chevalier should've done: make it impossible to get in.

 

ETA: Another similarity is that both the Baccarat Hotel and RL are named after a luxury good.

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i think people are iffy/unexcited about the place because the total experience (of which the food is a very important but by no means the only part) seems not to their preference, especially not at $200-300. it's an evening out, not just highly excellent food. they think (or in sneak's case, they know) that they'll enjoy the food a lot but the rest is not their idea of a fun evening out (which, i hope, is still what going to eat any kind of food is primarily about).

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i think people are iffy/unexcited about the place because the total experience (of which the food is a very important but by no means the only part) seems not to their preference, especially not at $200-300. it's an evening out, not just highly excellent food. they think (or in sneak's case, they know) that they'll enjoy the food a lot but the rest is not their idea of a fun evening out (which, i hope, is still what going to eat any kind of food is primarily about).

 

I think all of us understand that perfectly well. A couple of us are questioning whether that really ought to matter to sensible people who care about food, assuming we stipulate that the food is as good as we (most of those who've been) say it is. See what I wrote above about the reverse-Ssäm analogy.

 

Obviously, at the end of the day the decision is yours, and can be made for whatever reasons you choose, rational or otherwise. No one is going to drag you, kicking and screaming, into an expensive dinner you hate. But there clearly is a role for those seeking to challenge your biases, just as so many did when Ssäm was new, and that model of dining was not yet mainstream.

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Te question is: what does it take for this to get on the list of the rainmaker partners? Of the friends I have in hospitality? Of the junior associate who wants to impress a date and reads eater (he's going to emp or new ko)? Of the guy who is into food but doesn't read mff? This is a marketing issue.

A 3 star review from Pete Wells would go a real long way.

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i think people are iffy/unexcited about the place because the total experience (of which the food is a very important but by no means the only part) seems not to their preference, especially not at $200-300. it's an evening out, not just highly excellent food. they think (or in sneak's case, they know) that they'll enjoy the food a lot but the rest is not their idea of a fun evening out (which, i hope, is still what going to eat any kind of food is primarily about).

 

I think all of us understand that perfectly well. A couple of us are questioning whether that really ought to matter to sensible people who care about food, assuming we stipulate that the food is as good as we (most of those who've been) say it is.

 

 

 

 

 

quite obviously it does. a restaurant is not just food. this is presumably why they don't all look the same.

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i think people are iffy/unexcited about the place because the total experience (of which the food is a very important but by no means the only part) seems not to their preference, especially not at $200-300. it's an evening out, not just highly excellent food. they think (or in sneak's case, they know) that they'll enjoy the food a lot but the rest is not their idea of a fun evening out (which, i hope, is still what going to eat any kind of food is primarily about).

 

I think all of us understand that perfectly well. A couple of us are questioning whether that really ought to matter to sensible people who care about food, assuming we stipulate that the food is as good as we (most of those who've been) say it is.

 

 

 

 

 

quite obviously it does. a restaurant is not just food. this is presumably why they don't all look the same.

 

I agree. Of course it matters. And, of course it should. To me, that's obvious . "Sensible people" are only sensible if they are weighing the entire experience. When I go out to eat, the food is the main draw but how am I supposed to enjoy it if there are rats crawling around? This place seems to work against itself for folks like most of us and some are willing to forgive that to get to the food, others not so much. I'm not doing research, I'm going out to have a good time.

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The $200-$300 figure isn't the standard tariff here. It's two courses for $74, three for $96, and unlike the cocktails that's the going rate in the neighborhood.

 

Excitingly, it now offers lunch for $42.

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@Steve R. Forgiving it? It's delightful, comfortable, charming, solicitous. And now it even has a Danny Meyer veteran in charge.

 

I can't overstate how much more welcoming and considerate the service is than at Daniel or Jean Georges, for example.

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The odd thing is, there are no comments here about Ralph Lauren's new place, which is in the same neighborhood, is pretty damned expensive, where no one has asserted great importance for the food, and where they have a truly obnoxious door policy (still in place as of yesterday).

 

Maybe that's what Chevalier should've done: make it impossible to get in.

 

ETA: Another similarity is that both the Baccarat Hotel and RL are named after a luxury good.

 

There are no comments about the Ralph Lauren restaurant because it's of absolutely no importance to us. None of us can get in -- and I don't think many of us want to get in.

 

It's precisely because the food at Chevalier is so good that one would complain about the other stuff.

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The $200-$300 figure isn't the standard tariff here. It's two courses for $74, three for $96, and unlike the cocktails that's the going rate in the neighborhood.

 

Excitingly, it now offers lunch for $42.

 

 

i was just going by your recommendation that the place is best done if done all the way and taion's subsequent tab.

 

but three courses including dessert? at any rate $96 plus wine plus tax and tip and you're pretty much at $200, no?

 

not to confuse oakapple but if i lived in nyc and could afford to eat here i'd do it at least once. but $200/head meals are not for me in general, regardless of room or language of greeting. i've only done one of those (manresa), and even at $150 i'd rather spend that money on sushi most days of the year. i prefer to spend vast amounts of money on bottles of whisky, you see.

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1. I think Sneakeater is offended by Chevalier for idiosyncratic reasons that don't apply to most of us, especially those of us who are not native to NYC.

 

2. If you're okay with spending 200pp, you should go ASAP. Heck, I don't even feel that ripped off at having spent over 300pp, and honestly I'd probably pick up the check for 2 to go back there if I could get any of my friends to go with me (I can't)

 

3. There's really no category difference between the service at Chevalier and at any other F3 place in the city. The marketing is admittedly different, but once you're in there, those minuscule differences vanish.

 

4. Crap, maybe I'll head up there for lunch one of these days.

 

5. As an aside, almost all the men were wearing jackets, and about half were wearing ties. I think that's the way it should be. I'll happily wear a tie next time I go.

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If Wells gives Chevalier less than three stars, that's a major fail. Personal stylistic preferences shouldn't play into the star rating.

 

Of course, Wells probably WILL fail.

 

If the food's as good as you say, it HAS to get 3 starts, no? Cause otherwise everything else must really suck.

 

 

Maybe in six months time Gallante will be gone and it will be just another hotel dining room. A minority here seems to want that to happen, which is what I find odd.

 

Maybe Gallante only wants 6 months here.

 

i think people are iffy/unexcited about the place because the total experience (of which the food is a very important but by no means the only part) seems not to their preference, especially not at $200-300. it's an evening out, not just highly excellent food. they think (or in sneak's case, they know) that they'll enjoy the food a lot but the rest is not their idea of a fun evening out (which, i hope, is still what going to eat any kind of food is primarily about).

 

This is where i'm coming from, too. And if $24 cocktails piss me off, then it pisses me off to support anything about this restaurant.

 

Though I better go for the food.

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