Neglect Balthazar: This New York French restaurant is the place the attractive folks go

Make room, Balthazar!

After twenty-six years as Manhattan’s reigning French favourite, Keith McNally’s beloved brasserie Soho has an upstart, (considerably) uptown challenger.

The newly opened Cafe Chelsea (218 W. twenty third St.) is the culinary and well-known centerpiece of the legendary Chelsea Resort, overshadowing the nostalgic Spanish-style El Quijote and the intimate Foyer Bar of the reborn inn.

The previous lodge, a storied however pale former house of the likes of Jack Kerouac, Andy Warhol and Janis Joplin, closed in 2011 and lay in limbo till Ira Drukier, Richard Born and Sean MacPherson made it out. After a whole lot of thousands and thousands of {dollars} in work, it reopened in 2022.

The cafe ought to appear like it was “at all times a part of the lodge,” the publicity says. However you will not mistake it for something however a newly minted, lovingly crafted mixture of classic and faux-vintage themes, cleverly tailor-made to the tastes of 2023’s younger New York.

It is laborious to imagine the house was as soon as a fishing and sort out store. Two eating rooms, the Grand Café and the Petit Café, and an attractive lounge with a custom-made zinc bar, have a complete of 200 seats. The entire thing was clearly impressed by Keith McNally’s Balthazar, Pastis, and his former Augustine, who’s now Daniel Boulud’s Le Gratin.

Interior Cafe Chelsea.
The elegant European-style inside is clearly impressed by Keith McNally’s eating places.
Tamara Beckwith/NY POST

There are predictable however stunning tiled flooring, classic mirrors and deco-style Stilnovo wall sconces. Different treasures come from nearer to house, like 5 chandeliers MacPherson salvaged from the previous Lord & Taylor division retailer on Fifth Avenue. Banquets are upholstered in chenille and mohair, versus Balathazar’s leather-based.

There’s a bustling terrace on the sidewalk, however inside is the place to be.

“I like Balthazar, but it surely looks as if yesterday and this looks as if at the moment,” stated my delighted buddy, a lawyer who loves the nightlife, of the “vitality” of Cafe Chelsea.

Steak Frites at Café Chelsea.
The steak frites is best than Balthazar’s model.
Tamara Beckwith/NY POST

Black Sea Bass at Cafe Chelsea.
Black sea bass floats on high of a chic scallop mousseline.
Tamara Beckwith/NY POST

Ravioli Dauphine at Café Chelsea.
The ravioli Dauphine appeal to raves.
Tamara Beckwith/NY POST

The scene options vogue designers Cynthia Rowley and Batsheva Hay, “Gossip woman” creator Josh Safran, vogue editor and Instagram companion Eva Chen, and Artwork Manufacturing Fund director Casey Fremont.

Extra daring names and common foodies will observe as phrase will get out in regards to the robust French-American menu and crack service from Brooklyn-based Sunday Hospitality Group and companion Charles Seich.

Chef Derek Boccagno delivers a powerhouse model of steak frites that blows Balthazar’s tackle the traditional dish. The historically robust hanger steak is grilled over a wooden fireplace, frivolously brushed with Bourguignon sauce and reduce into 5 tasty segments.

Banquet table with two women dining at Cafe Chelsea.
Cozy banquets are upholstered in chenille and mohair.
Tamara Beckwith/NY POST

It had way more deep beef essence than Balthazar’s sinewy reduce that hardly yields to a serrated knife.

Balthazar nonetheless provides many scrumptious dishes, together with arguably the most effective steak tartare on the town, however its as soon as proud signature is long gone its prime. (Nonetheless, the super-crispy, golden fries are the most effective of Cafe Chelsea’s mediocre ones.)

Boccagno makes many extra hits based mostly on Gallic classics. I cherished black sea bass floating in elegant scallop mousseline; glowing tricolor tomato salad; and, unusually, boudin noir and boudin blanc on the identical plate — 4 cute sausages for a ridiculously low value of $12.

There are scrumptious cocktails and an in depth, largely well-priced wine checklist, however for anybody who misses the previous Chelsea Resort and enjoys the brand new, the scene and delicacies are intoxicating sufficient.