Even before the world went into lockdown mode in early spring, chefs behind some of the world’s most celebrated restaurants were wondering if their days were limited. The current crisis over the past few months, however, has seemingly quickened the pace as many of the city's top-rated restaurants loosened up their notions of fine dining.
Enter Daniel Boulud’s flagship Upper East Side temple to haute cuisine: Restaurant Daniel (everyone simply calls it Daniel, which in French sounds like “Danielle”). Today, the celebrated chef from Lyon opened Daniel Boulud Kitchen on the Terrace to bring fine dining to the city’s sidewalks.
It’s not what diners expect when they splurge on a Michelin-starred restaurant: reservations are only taken on the same day beginning at 2pm and there are some tables available for walk-ins. The menu is a la carte. There’s no dress code.
Boulud calls it “fine casual” for an approachable-yet-refined service with no unwieldy tasting menus (it's also the first time Restaurant Daniel has offered outdoor dining). Perhaps this is what diners have wanted all along.
The Michelin Guide’s ratings are often considered the gold standard for fine dining. New York boasts five restaurants with three stars—the top honor—but none currently offer outdoor dining. Eleven Madison Park became a soup kitchen early on to help feed frontline workers. Masa and Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare offer pricey delivery, while Eric Ripert’s Le Bernardin and Thomas Keller’s Per Se remain closed.
Among New York City restaurants bestowed with two Michelin stars, only Atera and Daniel Boulud Kitchen on the Terrace currently offer outdoor dining. Most of the socially-distanced tables—located outside of Daniel along East 65th Street—sit beneath a canopy and offer seats for about 35 guests. The menu—showcasing dishes such as citrus-cured fluke and The “Frenchie” Burger, which are also available through Daniel Boulud Kitchen, a recently-launched delivery service—is available 5-9pm.
Boulud’s debut of the terrace today coincides with New York’s Phase 3 reopening this week, which saw an indefinite delay for indoor dining across the five boroughs.
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