NYC Newbie Restaurant Vaucluse

NYC Newbie Restaurant Vaucluse

Sample fine French fare as the Upper East Siders do.

Upper East Side newcomer Vaucluse presents a stylish respite in a dining room serving upscale French cuisine by Chef Michael White, of Marea and Ai Fiori. Curious about the Michelin-starred chef’s take on Brasserie-fare I decided to take a trip to this new spot and try it myself. On a rainy Saturday evening, I stepped into the glossy Meyer Davis-designed foyer of the restaurant to be greeted by a friendly maître d' that ushered me through the expansive, multi-room space. Modern architectural lights mounted on crown moldings splashed warm light onto white table clothes and soft gray and sea-foam linen-upholstered banquettes.

Tournesol, courtesy Anthony Jackson

Settled into my seat, I wiped off the last of the raindrops from the wet weather outside and ordered an apparatif, the Tournesol—a goblet brimming with fluorescent gin with a twig of saffron. Its saffron-infused gin leafyn-ess melted into sweetness, thanks to orange and sugar beet found in Cointreau. Other drinks of note on the menu include the Poire Fizz—a frothy egg-white whipped concoction with the taste of cotton candy, thanks to a combination of pear infused Grey Goose vodka, crème de voilette and vanilla—and Le Diplomate—a floral play on an old fashioned with a violet blossom. Guests can enjoy the diverse cocktail menu and hearty wine list both with dinner and in the bar and lounge area nestled in the center mezzanine of the restaurant.

The menu is a mixture of traditional and contemporary takes on French cuisine prepared by Executive Chef Jared Gadbaw. Diners choose from an array of chilled seafood, pâtés and starters, house-made pastas, daily specials and main entrées.

For a starter I sampled brasserie-standard, oysters with tangy mignonette, a tuna crudo dish paired with quail egg and haricot verts and the foie gras poele.The standout was the foie gras poele. It featured a buttery dollop of foie gras sitting amidst a tableau of deconstructed hazelnut gâteau, endives and preserved strawberries.

Bar à la Vapeur, courtesy Anthony Jackson

I bypassed the tempting daily special—gigot d’agneau—and opted for bar à la vapeur entrée. Served in a tangy white wine sauce dotted with manila clams, the steamed bass, wrapped in Swiss chard with small mushrooms as a garnish was like a vibrant and savory gift. Other enticing menu items include Cotelette de Porc—Berkshire pork chop with peaches, roasted endive, walnuts and bergamot—and Carré D’Agneau—roasted rack of lamb with white bean ragoût, figs and niçoise olives.

With a floral and herb-accented menu of fine French fare, this sleek multi-room restaurant and lounge is ideal for stately business dinners and fashionable dates for the traveler looking to experience elegant, uptown fine-dining.