Le Pavillon, which opened in 1941 and closed three decades later, is widely viewed as the restaurant that put French food on the map in the United States. Anyone who was anyone did a turn in the kitchen at Le Pavillon under the demanding eye of founder Henri Soulé.
I offer up this bit of restaurant nostalgia at a time when the majority of the city’s restaurants remain shuttered not to remind you of what has been but of what is about to come. That is the rebirth of Le Pavillon, in name and to a lesser extent ambition, this time under the equally watchful eye of Daniel Boulud.
The new Pavillon will open in suitably grand surroundings, making its home on the second floor of the 77-story One Vanderbilt, soon to be among New York’s tonier addresses. Boulud’s vision, which is to become reality on May 19, is for a seafood restaurant on an equally impressive scale. The 11,000-square-foot space will accommodate seating for 120.
But in nearly all other regards the restaurant will part company with the original Pavillon. Boulud’s seafood emporium will not aim for the same level of opulence as its predecessor. (No doubt, Boulud himself would tell you that the days of haute gastronomie went the way of midi skirts.) The fare here will be more modern — and down to earth. Tables will sport crisp white linen, but only at dinner. Breakfast (yes, breakfast!) and lunch will be far more casual.
The chef told the New York Times:
This is a different time that needs a different cuisine; I don’t have a seafood restaurant in New York, so I’m excited to be doing this.
We’ll keep you posted about what he comes up with.