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Chevalier at The Baccarat


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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

I don't know... Last time at Blanca it was tourists all around. It's almost always this way in every high end place in nyc (except when you eat at EMP during their nevereverland shift where Adrian's young foodies fill the place up). They didn't seem particularly hipsterish or expecting to be friends of the staff, but the couple to our left (Danes, so they know from the best restaurant in the world) was so happy that they immediately concluded food in nyc is incredible (it was their first meal in town) while the couple from our right (Brazilians who I'm pretty sure would fall into one of Sneakeater's those people categories, except they were nice) spent the ride back home on the L telling us how amazing it was (I guess that they took the L means they're not truly those people). Nobody seemed particularly interested in how music was being played or if there was a bidet in the room.

 

And the one time I ate at Blanca, it was actually a friend of my dining companion who was our waiter, so that didn't really come up.

 

 

Right, and when the waiter is a person who we know from some past life (of hers, we've always been exactly the same of course) then we're friends, and when she's someone who's so excited about being a sommelier that she thinks I want to spend time discussing the finer points of Bourdy's style with her then we're not friends even though I'm sure she's a pro.

 

And Old Skool restaurants are like S&M (if you're not from the appropriate class)!

 

 

p.s. Danny Burns almost killed me with a sharp object (and it wasn't even consensual), but now we're bffs.

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What I mean is that emp, etc. will get eight stars from sutton, be written up in lucky peach every month, and humm will be given a spot on mind of s chef. Daniel basically got his own bourdain on cnn episode. so when a 27 year old is looking to celebrate, these places make the list.

 

None of that will ever happen to chevalier. Why?

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What percentage of revenue do you think Daniel or EMP are receiving from 27 year olds celebrating?

 

I'm going to put it at around 5%, and I'm probably being generous.

I don't disagree. Perhaps the better way to phrase it is: in what universe does a chevalier get onto parts unknown? Or mind of a chef? Or that Netflix show?

 

My point isn't even who the actual audience is, but how the restaurant positions itself. Emp, Le bernardin, etc. are aggressively sold as the foodie restaurants.

 

I get accused of chowhounding for saying that chevalier isn't marketing itself this way, but if Tao landed tien ho, this whole conversation would be structurally the same but take a very different tone.

 

Eta: what would it take to get that couple beside you at luksus into chevalier.

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Look. Maybe I'm just too geeky and socially awkward and immigrant-y to notice or care. I think there's something a bit weird about a service model where hypothetically the servers are your social peers, but they're supposed to attend to your every need out of... what, the friendship that you're paying them for? That's really a bit odd to me. It can work - Maialino and the other Danny Meyer restaurants in general pull it off, but... I don't know. But now that I think about it, the times when the service at even Maialino really clicked for me were when I was with people who were regulars who were very well known to the house. And the one time I ate at Blanca, it was actually a friend of my dining companion who was our waiter, so that didn't really come up.

 

Very non-Kantian of you. It's not friendship but I think people are increasingly uncomfortable with service that is, well, servile. And this is a class thing - I doubt you think it's weird to view your doctor or lawyer or financial adviser as a social peer when they're providing a service. It's the nature of the job that makes you feel that way. Of course, the reason this is changing, I think, is because a lot of lawyers were once servers, or a lot of kids of lawyers want to get into hospitality and work as servers, but the point still stands.

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I think influential people need to say "actually this is fine", not "this is an old-fashioned, outmoded style of service that only the yacht week people can like, and that everyone else should shun".

 

That's exactly what I have been trying to say.

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Perhaps the better way to phrase it is: in what universe does a chevalier get onto parts unknown? Or mind of a chef? Or that Netflix show?

 

My point isn't even who the actual audience is, but how the restaurant positions itself. Emp, Le bernardin, etc. are aggressively sold as the foodie restaurants.

 

Well, my hypothesis is quite simply that no one can open EMP or Le Bernardin today. What backs me up, is that no one has opened a "restaurant like that" successfully in NYC in the last 5–7 years, aside from a few cases of chef brand extensions, and there aren't even very many of those.

 

So the odds of Chevalier succeeding were always going to be low, even if all the purportedly obnoxious social signifiers weren't there. Indeed, as I understand you, they were doomed before the restaurant even opened, because the hotel called itself "Baccarat".

 

EMP, for now the 15th time, did not open as anything remotely like what it is today, and gradually evolved. It therefore cannot be the template for what a new F3 restaurant needs to do to gain a toehold. They followed what I believe is the only credible path today: to add luxury gradually, only after you've proven yourself with the culinary elite.

 

LeB was a standard-issue F3 four-star thirty years ago, when that was considered the "normal thing to do". I'll give LeB credit for continuing to stay relevant, when they just as easily could've become another "La Grenouille" or "The Four Seasons", standing still and watching their clients age. But that restaurant, opening today in its current form, wouldn't stand much of a chance.

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And this is a class thing - I doubt you think it's weird to view your doctor or lawyer or financial adviser as a social peer when they're providing a service. It's the nature of the job that makes you feel that way.

 

My doctor (s) - all they want to know is where I've eaten recently and what bars I've been to. The night my gp and I ended up at Milk & Honey was pretty interesting.

My lawyer - well, she's my wife.

My financial adviser - tell me why I need one of those again.

My server - they're doing their job too.

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Was Eleven Madison Park on its way to becoming a Michelin three-star restaurant before Humm? I never dined there when Heffernan was in the kitchen, so I've no idea if Meyer was progressively applying layers of luxury even then. The narrative that Humm and Guidara tell seems to imply they had to convince Meyer at each step...

 

I tend to agree with Oakapple about the difficulty of opening a top restaurant these days, but I'd still argue EMP has a somewhat different, more approachable [many of you consider too much so] model of service than some of the restaurants further Uptown.

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A part of me wonders if the nature of 0.1 per cent money that would be needed to finance a new EMP makes it difficult to open a luxury restaurant with less, er, douchey atmosphere. And if this is different in Northern California.

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Perhaps the better way to phrase it is: in what universe does a chevalier get onto parts unknown? Or mind of a chef? Or that Netflix show?

 

My point isn't even who the actual audience is, but how the restaurant positions itself. Emp, Le bernardin, etc. are aggressively sold as the foodie restaurants.

 

Well, my hypothesis is quite simply that no one can open EMP or Le Bernardin today. What backs me up, is that no one has opened a "restaurant like that" successfully in NYC in the last 5–7 years, aside from a few cases of chef brand extensions, and there aren't even very many of those.

 

So the odds of Chevalier succeeding were always going to be low, even if all the purportedly obnoxious social signifiers weren't there. Indeed, as I understand you, they were doomed before the restaurant even opened, because the hotel called itself "Baccarat".

 

EMP, for now the 15th time, did not open as anything remotely like what it is today, and gradually evolved. It therefore cannot be the template for what a new F3 restaurant needs to do to gain a toehold. They followed what I believe is the only credible path today: to add luxury gradually, only after you've proven yourself with the culinary elite.

 

LeB was a standard-issue F3 four-star thirty years ago, when that was considered the "normal thing to do". I'll give LeB credit for continuing to stay relevant, when they just as easily could've become another "La Grenouille" or "The Four Seasons", standing still and watching their clients age. But that restaurant, opening today in its current form, wouldn't stand much of a chance.

 

not only did EMP evolve, but the original owner, arguably one of the most savvy operators in town, chose to sell once it completed the transition to 4 start/SP bait. There might be information in that.

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