Some New Yorkers have commented on the scarcity of fine-dining options on the Upper East Side. Chef Michael White’s newly opened Vaucluse French brasserie on the corner of Park Avenue and 63rd Street may be just the thing to pacify them. Occupying the high-profile site formerly home to Park Avenue Summer, the expansive 12,000-square-foot location has been transformed, with a sleek bar and lounge separating its two dining rooms. “This is a personal passion project that we have contemplated for years and wanted to create in the city we love,” says White, whose Altamarea Group also owns several other acclaimed restaurants, including Marea, Ai Fiori, and Nicoletta.
Conceived by White and executive chef Jared Gadbaw, the menu offers familiar French cuisine with a novel spin. This subtle experimentation is exemplified by the roasted duck à l’orange—which is dry-aged over the course of many days, resulting in exceptionally succulent and savory meat—and the filet de veau façon rossini, a veal filet in black-truffle juice served with seared foie gras and a caramelized onion tart. For those with a taste for authentic French classics, Vaucluse delivers with boeuf bourguignon, escargots, and light-and-airy chocolate soufflé. Lighter options include bar à la vapeur (steamed sea bass wrapped in Swiss chard with Manila clams and sauce vin blanc) and a variety of simple grilled meats and fish. “We aimed to create a menu that captures French cuisine’s nostalgia, flavors, and traditional technique, complemented by a sense of edge and style,” says Gadbaw. “We wanted the offerings to reflect how today’s diner prefers to eat.”
The wine list at Vaucluse includes more than 300 French and American wines and Champagnes, and the cocktails menu offers a mixture of old favorites, as well as novelties like the Lady Brett Ashley (Tanqueray gin, Combier Pamplemousse Rose, Byrrh, and lemon) and 437 Royal Street (Guillon-Painturaud V.S.O.P. Cognac, benedictine, and Herbsaint).
The interior of the 186-seat venue was designed by Meyer Davis, who lends a sense of warmth to the expansive rooms with custom millwork, aged-metal detailing, a tile-clad bar, simple flowers, and all-white table settings. (vauclusenyc.com)