January 3, 2012 | Short Order

Still seeking real estate, chef Laurent Gras talks about doing a 14 seat restaurant in NYC

Photo courtesy of Gabe Ulla/Eater.com.


           Lauded Chef Laurent Gras has been scattering clues about his projected New York City launch, sitting for long philosophical interviews with Eater, but dodging the question about what exactly he plans to do. Not any more. I hear he’s saying he hopes to open a 14-seat restaurant to showcase his ambitious food – a blend of haute tradition and molecular play – many courses at a high price.  Reportedly, he still hasn’t found the real estate.


           Should he decide to have music, he might tap Buddha Bar’s DJ for “acoustic wallpaper” as he did for L2O, changing the tape often “to reflect the seasons and the energy of the room.”


          Actually he’s been musing and amusing since he arrived in New York after abruptly walking out of L2O days before Michelin awarded it three stars in their Chicago guide. He told FloFab he wanted to do something casual and fun.  He agreed downtown would be a good location.

          Last time I tasted Gras’s cooking was at Peacock Alley in the Waldorf in l998. Ruth Reichl gave it three stars in the Times. I called it Divine Oeuvre-Kill.


          Since his arrival he’s been cooking around a bit promiscuously, dabbling in benefits, sharing behind-the-counter honors with David Chang at Momofuko Ko, and starring in the Beard Foundation’s popup restaurant in Chelsea Market in April. Foundation vice president Mitchell Davis reported Gras’s kickoff dinner sold out in 40 minutes.  He second dinner sold out in 11.

          More clues might be found in his tweets. Recently he raved about the casual, costly dinner at Brooklyn Fare. Interestingly when Joel Robuchon came back from retirement he wanted to cook in an intimate setting surrounded by clients too.  His Atelier de Robuchon ultimately became a world franchise.


Click here to read Gabe Ulla’s revealing October 22 Q&A with Gras on Eater.


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