Photos by Liz Clayman
The food world was epically rocked in summer of 2018, with Anthony Bourdain‘s suicide in June followed by the death from cancer in August of Joël Robuchon, who many called the greatest chef of his generation.
The latter’s restaurant empire has carried on after his passing, with L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in the Northern reaches of New York’s Meatpacking District continuing its lofty culinary pursuits. But Le Grill de Joël Robuchon, the less formal eatery attached to it, has just been transformed into the uncomplicatedly monikered Le Club.
Intriguingly, an age of a more approachable restaurant culture – as well as crafty more than lofty nightspots – the 15,000 square foot Le Club is a throwback to the glamorous optimism of the early post-Millennium. To be sure, its interiors are by exalted designer Pierre Yves Rochon, with sumptuous velvet banquettes, opulent drapery, a dark marble bar and an all around clubby vibe. A spectacular wine wall makes for particularly dramatic visual effect, in a space that could well pass for a plush Paris hotel bar.
Chef Christophe Bellanca, a protege of Monsieur Robuchon, remains at the helm. And small plates, befitting the loungier vibe, are the order of the day (well, night, really). So the French leaning menu flaunts casual bites like Maine lobster rolls, hamachi, beef tartare, tarte flambée and specialty beignets.
Bellanca enthuses, “We wanted to take the key elements that make L’Atelier successful – partagé [sharing] guest interaction, the showmanship of the open kitchen, meticulous attention to detail – and present them in a new way for guests. Le Club will be lively and chic, while never sacrificing the culinary and hospitality touchpoints needed to be worthy of the Michelin honor.”