Frenchette chefs will take over a legendary New York bistro

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The dining room of the Golden Calf.
Photo: Sophie Fabbri

“I’m going to try an uptown Frenchette,” chef Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson sing to each other. The culinary duo, whose aforementioned restaurant was New York’s biggest opening of 2018, are branching out. But they’re not opening a new restaurant – they’ve bought an 82-year-old one instead, Le Veau d’Or. The restaurant is closed for renovations and plans to reopen in the fall.

A throwback to the days before nouvelle cuisine and chefs like Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Le Veau d’Or has been around for some time outside the microscopically examined world of New York’s hip restaurant scene. (That wasn’t the case decades ago, of course. In 1968, Times reviewer Craig Claiborne gave it four stars.) But it’s had its fans over the years. The late Anthony Bourdain visited it on No reservationsand earlier this year new YorkAdam Platt claimed it was still one of the best French restaurants in town, calling it “a kind of living museum” where “the menu hasn’t changed in what feels like centuries”.

Frenchette, on the other hand, is one of the liveliest restaurants in town. But it doesn’t look like Nasr and Hanson are considering revamping Le Veau d’Or; Hanson told the New York Times that “we like the idea of ​​taking over a historic restaurant” while retaining its identity. Classics like frogs’ legs and tripe a la mode de Caen (which Platt says were “legendary among tripe connoisseurs of yore”) will likely remain, though the plan is for the menu to take a more seasonal approach. .

The Golden Calf belonged to the same family since 1985 – Catherine Treboux took it over in 2012 from her father Robert after his death. Addressing the Times, Treboux explained that the restaurant’s kitchen needed work but was unwilling to deal with bureaucracy. As Nasr and Hanson relate, they had thought about buying the restaurant since Robert’s death. It seems they weren’t the only ones interested; their former boss Daniel Boulud told the Times, “I thought about taking it back myself.” In any case, the restaurant seems to be in good hands.

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