Chanterelle is the same unique grand drama of ﬁne dining (no dress code) that David and Karen Waltuck dared on Grand Street in the desolate blackness of unexploited Soho 25 years ago. “It’s like a mirage,” I wrote then. “A stage set. A teasing dream. Past shadowy cast-iron façades: a tall storefront magnetically aglow . . . Inside, a studied elegance.” A chef enamored of the legend of France’s “mythic Fernand Point . . . But when he is good, Chanterelle is astonishing.” Though they’ve since moved to grander quarters in Tribeca, where menu covers drawn by artist friends hang in the vestibule, the Waltucks look much the same, wearing similar shaggy-boy coifs - he, quite shy, she, still whirling and trilling enthusiasm. Though more brilliant and driven chefs do the Michelin tasting-menu riff these days, David still has his triumphs. Tonight, on the $95 prix fixe (it’s $115 for the seven-course tasting that once cost $30): a wonderful terrine of smoked ﬁsh, simply dressed bay scallops that fairly sparkle, Moroccan-touched lamb loin, with a seduction of desserts. It’s still the perfect place to celebrate. Not for cuisinary epiphany, but because it’s sedate and civilized, indulgent, and unfailingly romantic.
2 Harrison St. at Hudson St. 212 966 6960