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The Original Café Boulud Moves South



What a difference a few blocks can make. The original Café Boulud, an Upper East Side neighborhood hangout and destination since 1998, has moved south about half a mile to an area where its customers are likely to be driven more by destination. It’s now installed in a somewhat grander setting near the Plaza Hotel and amid a coterie of other French restaurants. Still, those who know and love the restaurant will recognize the menu; it’s divided in quadrants addressing Le Voyage, La Saisons, Potager and La Tradition, with seasonal updates for each. Right now expect to be tempted by short ribs, crabmeat, mushrooms, sunchokes and desserts sparkling with citrus. The executive chef is Romain Paumier, who worked at the original Café Boulud and was the executive sous chef at Mr. Boulud’s flagship, Daniel. He’s the latest in a kitchen that, over the years, has been an incubator for names like Andrew Carmellini, Gavin Kaysen and Aaron Bludorn. Katalina Diaz, formerly the executive sous chef for pastry at Daniel, is the executive pastry chef. Of all his restaurants, this is the one to which Mr. Boulud is most deeply attached, given that his great-grandparents opened a Café Boulud 100 years ago near Lyon, France, his hometown. Now with pale gray walls that echo the color of the recently redone Daniel nearby, the new Café Boulud has artwork, traditional detailing, velvet and leather seating in deep teal blue and amber; the space beckons with airy comfort, as yet another reaffirmation that fine dining is sticking around. There are a number of other spaces, including a bar that will open in February, and a series of elegant salons opening in the spring that will be the New York headquarters for Maison Barnes, an international realty company based in Paris, and Mr. Boulud’s new partner. (Opens Friday)

100 East 63rd Street, 212-721-2600,

Something of a revolving door over the past few years, this high-visibility corner of 57th Street and Sixth Avenue is now Mediterranean with a Levantine focus. Hunks of vegetables like cauliflower and winter squash can be seen bronzing on a rotisserie in the open kitchen while duck cassoulet with merguez sausage, roasted lamb neck, black bass tagine, and Yemeni kubaneh bread bake in a taboon oven. Eggplant carpaccio, braised leeks, shrimp tempura and potato gnocchi with mushrooms are also on the executive chef Ari Bokovza’s menu. Brass accents give the room a touch of brasserie style. The multifaceted Chef Driven Hospitality, run by Simon Oren, is in charge. (Wednesday)

101 West 57th Street, 212-377-7170,

There’s an emphasis on vegetables with dishes like brussels sprouts with apple and Parmesan, and butter beans with braised collards, at this newcomer in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The chef, Zach Frieling, previously worked at Jupiter and the Four Horsemen. The owners of this, their first restaurant, are the sommelier Kristin Ma, whose wine list tilts offbeat, and Tara Noble, whose résumé includes assorted restaurant jobs. (Thursday)

80 Franklin Street (Oak Street), Greenpoint, Brooklyn, 716-932-2581,

This TriBeCa tavern has opened an uptown branch on the rink level at Rockefeller Center. Starting with a dinner menu dominated by seafood and also featuring tagliatelle puttanesca, a pork chop and a pastrami short rib Reuben, it’s adding lunch this week. The setting is more polished, with velvet banquettes, than the downtown original.

Rink Level, Rockefeller Center, 646-861-0030,

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