As New York City bars and restaurants opened at full capacity on May 19, 2021, Daniel Boulud’s newest restaurant Le Pavillon introduces an array of seafood and vegetable-centric plates in an atmosphere that fuses nature and architecture in midtown Manhattan. At his nine other restaurants in Manhattan, Boulud has tackled contemporary design and neo-classical architecture, among other styles.
With 57-foot ceilings, cream columns, and a built-in irrigation system for the interior’s olive trees and ferns, Le Pavillon is a testament to the triumphs of architecture and landscape. Located at One Vanderbilt, steps away from Grand Central Terminal, Le Pavillon is readily accessible to all boroughs and suburbs. New York politicians, including Mayor BIll de Blasio, attended the ribbon cutting ceremony, honoring the new addition to the city.
“We wanted this restaurant to be for New York,” Boulud said. “A restaurant with resonance with New York City, for New Yorkers, but also for everyone coming through New York, either by train, by plane, or by car.”
With 50% of the dining room serving as a garden, the restaurant is unlike many others in Manhattan. The delicate flowers and ferns that line the walkways to some tables contrast the stark lines of the Midtown skyline. As Boulud said, the restaurant is a “dining oasis in the middle of the concrete jungle of Midtown.”
Within the 11,000 square-feet of the restaurant, tall ceilings float high above the diners and greenery. This creates an illusion of outdoor dining. However, with 50% of New York residents vaccinated, customers eagerly welcome the outdoor dining facade in an indoor space.
Blondie’s Treehouse, a company that designs and maintains landscapes and greenery, cares for the plants on premise. Thanks to a below-soil irrigation system and a regulated climate in the restaurant, the olive trees will stay alive all year. Even when snow falls as customers eat wood-fired octopus and saffron-roasted cauliflower, the greenery will maintain its color, reminding New Yorkers of the impending spring and summer.
The bar, which Boulud noted would need security to “keep everybody at their best behavior,” will be a hot destination. Endless windows that expose guests to a view of the Chrysler Building and Grand Central Terminal distract from the picturesque array of alcohol. Boulud predicts the seats will be occupied as businessmen and women gather for drinks both during and after work.
The menu offers first courses and main courses from the mer and the terre. Boasting dishes like roasted lamb chops, slow-baked ora king salmon, and buckwheat crusted sea scallops, the menu leaves customers with options that traverse flavors from pickled turmeric to smoked paprika. Conversely, the dessert menu offers dishes with strawberries, passionfruit, cherries, and chocolate. Customers can choose from four types of cheeses, including comté and coupole, Vermont goat cheese, for a traditional French dessert.
“The menu is based on the land and the sea at Le Pavillon. So, this is not a departure from whatever I’ve done in the past, but it is a progression,” Boulud said. “The focus will be on local vegetables, New England Seafood” and other ingredients that change based on the season.
The Vanderbilt, an oyster gratinée with a hazelnut-parsley crust, is the preferred dish of Le Pavillon’s Corporate Chef Jean-Francois Bruel. To honor Cornelius Vanderbilt, the man who commissioned many buildings in midtown, Boulud named the dish after him.
“I don’t know if it’s going to be as famous as Rockefeller, but definitely, it will be famous at Le Pavillon,” Boulud noted about the Vanderbilt with a laugh.
Le Pavillon will open completely in September once work on the building is completed. Until then, it will be open in the evenings Wednesday through Saturday. As One Vanderbilt nears completion, customers can make reservations and revel in the beauty of the greenery and Midtown views at Boulud’s new restaurant.