It looks like Jean-Georges Vongerichten isn’t ready to stop growing his global restaurant empire. Fresh from opening his latest project in lower Manhattan, the dining/retail destination Tin Building, the France-born, New York-based chef and restaurateur announced in August that he would open a restaurant in L&L Holding Company’s new 47-story office building at 425 Park Avenue. Set to debut toward the end of 2023, this new establishment’s name has not yet been announced, but it will join a group of restaurants that includes Wine Spectator Award of Excellence winner Jean-Georges in Philadelphia, Best of Award of Excellence–winning the Mark Restaurant by Jean-Georges and Vongerichten’s namesake flagship in New York, which has held a Grand Award for its wine list since 2016.
As with the rest of the block-long 425 Park Avenue, the restaurant has been designed by British architect Lord Norman Foster and his Foster + Partners firm. The main dining room is on a mezzanine level with 25-foot-high ceilings and a 1,000-square-foot open kitchen. Below, on the ground floor, will be a cocktail lounge with 45-foot-high ceilings and a piece from abstract painter Larry Poons. There will also be an on-site bakery and a private dining room with a separate kitchen.
“I have known Jean-Georges as a friend and have marveled at his cuisine for over 20 years,” said L&L chairman and CEO David Levinson in a statement. “I had always hoped I could one day partner with him on a New York City restaurant and am delighted this opportunity came together.”
Vongerichten will also be overseeing food and beverage in the building’s Diagrid Club, a tenant amenity and wellness center with Central Park views, outdoor areas, private meditation rooms and an installation from Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, who has also worked with Veuve Clicquot.
Under construction since 2016 and in the works for far longer, 425 Park Avenue has been designed to meet international standards for energy-efficient buildings and healthy workplaces. “The building is situated across the street from my first job in NYC in 1986, so it almost feels full circle,” said Vongerichten in a statement. “Between the menu and design of the tower and restaurants, this is going to be the healthiest building in [New York City], in all senses of the word.”
There’s no word yet on what the beverage program will look like at Vongerichten’s new restaurant. But, if the chef’s past endeavors are any indication, it seems very likely that wine fans will have a lot to look forward to.—C.D.
Chef David Kinch to Leave Manresa
Shocking the restaurant world, chef David Kinch announced in late August that he will be departing his acclaimed Manresa restaurant in Silicon Valley. What’s more, Kinch plans to sell the Los Gatos, Calif., property after what will be the Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence winner’s final service on Dec. 31, 2022.
“For the past 20 years, Manresa has essentially been my whole life. And like all passion projects, it has been more challenging and more rewarding than I could have imagined,” Kinch said in a statement.
Since opening in 2002, Manresa has been delighting customers with Kinch’s innovative twist on California cuisine, with close attention given to the Central Coast and its local, sustainable purveyors and growers. The humble-looking restaurant in a ranch-style house on a quiet cul-de-sac has been locally and internationally celebrated, including being a Relais & Châteaux recommended establishment and, since 2008, a Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence for its wine list.
Before it earned its first award, former Wine Spectator editor at large Harvey Steiman wrote of Manresa and its chef, “A measure of Kinch’s talent is that he lifts these everyday things into flavors that make you close your eyes and contemplate.”
Kinch has long had an affinity for the craft of cooking. He took his first restaurant job, as a dishwasher, at 16, before finding his way to the kitchen. “It was really about the act of cooking, working with my hands, being creative. I found myself lost in it,” he said in a 2021 interview. “You would do a job well done, and people would appreciate it and enjoy your efforts, and I found that very satisfying.”
Though Manresa will be no more, Kinch will devote more time to his other area restaurants: The Bywater, Mentone and Manresa Bread, while exploring other opportunities and interests. “This is back-breaking work that demands you show up at your fullest every day, no excuses. Starting January 1, I hope to establish a new equilibrium, to focus on the next exciting chapter of my life,” said Kinch.
Before closing, Kinch, chef de cuisine Nicholas Romero and pastry chef Courtney Moisant plan to create some exciting seasonal menus incorporating new and classic dishes. Accompanying wine pairings from wine director Jim Rollston will include treasures from the 4,000-bottle cellar, which holds an impressive array of selections from Burgundy, California and Germany.
“I’m immensely proud of our team’s perseverance and all that we’ve accomplished. … Until the end of the year, I look forward to a joyous four months, welcoming back all who have supported us over the years to enjoy the restaurant one last time in its current iteration,” said Kinch.—A.R.
Momofuku Ko Veterans Open a Wine Bar in New York
In 2014, chef Josh Pinsky met wine director Chase Sinzer while both worked at David Chang’s Best of Award of Excellence–winning Momofuku Ko in New York. In August, after more than five years of planning, the duo opened their own restaurant, Claud, an East Village spot inspired by casual eateries in London and Paris.
Central to the restaurant is Sinzer’s ever-evolving, 200-wine list, which is printed daily. Burgundy is the primary focus, with leading names like DRC, Leflaive and Ramonet. Spotlighting acclaimed producers throughout, Claud’s 2,000-bottle cellar also holds French selections from the Bordeaux, Rhône, Champagne, Loire, Jura, Provence, Savoie and Beaujolais regions. Additional picks come from Argentina, Austria, California, Germany, Italy, Oregon, Portugal, Spain and Washington.
Uniting the list is an emphasis on wineries practicing environmentally friendly techniques to make high-quality wines. As Sinzer told Wine Spectator via email, “Our only dogma is deliciousness. We take the same pride in listing new and emerging producers that we do listing canonical names.” Sinzer hopes to create a casual, satisfying wine experience curated to match the time of year and Pinsky’s eclectic menu, which is partly influenced by the chef’s experiences in the Bay Area and at Momofuku Ko.
Diners can take in smaller plates like razor clams with apple, tuna tartare with tomato and summer squash with seaweed before diving into Claud’s larger dishes: chicken liver agnolotti, swordfish au poivre, steelhead trout with surf clams or a pork chop with smoked onion jus. For dessert, Pinsky offers pistachio bundt cake and rice pudding adapted from family recipes.
For Claud’s interior, Ian Chapin of Philadelphia-based design firm Edsel took elements from mid-century London pubs, French architecture and Northern Italian cafés. With an open kitchen, the 48-seat space displays sleek, contemporary furnishings and an emerald-hued quartz bartop. Guests can also enjoy their wine, though not yet food, outside on Claud’s patio. The restaurant hosts private tastings for guests, and its team is planning future dinners with winemakers.
“The ultimate—and almost impossible—goal is creating a space where a guest simply can't have a bad time,” Pinsky said. “A culture that prides staff and guest happiness over all else is what we'd like to truly add to the [New York City] dining scene.”—C.D.