White-tablecloth destinations have been in a tailspin for years, with hushed dining-room reverence pardoned for a post-recession clang of sardine-crammed counters, heritage pork belly and sleeve-inked line cooks. Today’s buzz makers are no longer made-for-Michelin temples of hyper-vigilant service and tweezer-art fare—they’re lox-and-schmear bagel bistros, wood-fired pizza joints and prepubescent pop-ups.
By those criteria, Gabriel Kreuther—the restaurant, not the man—is not “cool.” The big-box room, situated on the ground floor of the Grace Building, is too comfortably cream-toned for cool, fixed with timber barn beams and folky stork wallprints evocative of the Alsatian farm country where Gabriel Kreuther—the man, not the restaurant—hails.
But Kreuther isn’t concerned with cool, nor should he be. Fresh off an acclaimed decade at Danny Meyer’s MoMA restaurant, the Modern, the veteran chef joins the grand pantheon of name-bearing flagships—the Daniels, the Jean-Georges—with cooking that’s as personal as it is precise.
Regulars of the Modern will recognize the ribbons of smoke that entangle Kreuther’s famed tarteflambée ($12) in the copper-trimmed front lounge and his sturgeon-sauerkraut tart in the back dining room, hotboxed in a glass cloche with applewood haze ($98, as part of the four-course prix fixe).
But Kreuther doesn’t pander with mere greatest hits. Instead, he turns out the year’s most visually arresting dish, a ceviche of raw diver scallops in a moat of brightening jalapeño coulis with black radish curls and crispy tempura crumbles. The whole gorgeous thing is plated on a crystal bowl perched atop a matching pedestal, a rightful setting.
Langoustine tartare is similarly head-turning, a clean disc of plump, sweet crustacean studded with flying fish roe and dressed with a nutty cauliflower-macadamia puree. Its crowning caramelized sugar shard shatters like fine crème brûlée.
On a recent night, the flesh of herb-crusted mero, sporting a tuft of melted leeks and bouchot mussels, erred on the side of tough, but meats fared better: an excellently tender sweetbread nugget paired with pillowy black-truffle dumplings and a tableside pour of sweet-corn broth; and Kreuther’s signature, years-perfected croustillante of squab and sautéed foie gras, wrapped in cabbage and flaky feuille de brick. People don’t eat like this anymore, but, boy, they should.
|Venue name:||Gabriel Kreuther||Contact:|
41 W 42nd St
|Cross street:||between Fifth and Sixth Aves|
|Opening hours:||Mon–Fri noon–2:30pm, 5:30–10:30pm; Sat 5:30–10:30pm|
|Transport:||Subway: 7 to Fifth Ave; B, D, F, M to 42nd St–Bryant Park|
|Price:||Four course prix fixe: $98. AmEx, MC, V|
|Do you own this business?|
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Average User Rating
5 / 5
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I went to Gabriel Kreuther as a "treat yo'self" experience (it's definitely pricey), and it was absolutely worth it. Everything from the food to the service was wonderful. When I walked in, the hostess greeted me and thanked me for calling to say I would be a few minutes late. She offered to take my coat and my suitcase, which she stored up front. After I paid my check, she had them both ready for me at the door. The lunch prix fixe is a great way to taste the food without the price of dinner, but I was too tempted by the selection of wine and the extremely friendly sommelier (there's three of them walking around to assist you in selecting one!) to not get a glass...then another. I had the sturgeon tart (the presentation of the tart enclosed in a smoke-filled glass cover is too cool), which was delightful yet sharply flavored because of the sauerkraut. Then I had the Brandt beef skirt steak, which was cooked to perfection and a delight to eat. I savored every bite. The whole meal was speckled with tastes in between, like a small, freshly made French baguette with housemade butter, a mousseline, a fresh, warm bread with scallion cream at the start, and chocolates at the end. The sommelier also gave me a free glass of sherry at the end of the meal. It was amazing.