Fine Dining, Midtown East Dinner Monday through Saturday Lunch service will begin in September 2019
A la carte: dishes between $17 and $44 Chef’s Tasting: $90
Modern Vegetable-driven Cuisine
If you love colorful dishes, inspired by gorgeous seasonal vegetables, you should definitively visit Le Jardinier, Chef Alain Verzeroli’s first NYC restaurant, which opened on May 21st on the ground floor of the new luxury condominium 100 East 53rd Street, developed by Aby Rosen. Alain Verzeroli has worked with acclaimed French Chef Joël Robuchon for the last two decades and with Le Jardinier, his first very own concept, he clearly wants to take a new path, inspired by what nature gives us to the rhythm of the seasons. And nature is the first thing that comes to mind when entering the beautiful light-filled 62 seats space, designed by award-winning French architect Joseph Dirand. From the elegant green-marble walls and floors and green chair cushions to the floor to ceiling windows adorned with green plants, everything at Le Jardinier evokes a welcoming verdant garden which feels like a serene refuge from the bustling pace of the city’s life.
For whom Anybody in search of a beautiful vegetable-driven dining experience in a casual-chic atmosphere. Although not being a vegetarian or gluten-free restaurant, Le Jardinier is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a restaurant with great vegetarian and gluten-free options.
Story Alain Verzeroli began his career in Paris where he’s worked for some of the most famous chefs and restaurants, including Michelin 3-star Taillevent, Michelin 3-star Guy Savoy and Alain Passard’s Michelin 3-star Arpège where he served as Executive Sous-Chef just before starting to work with Joël Robuchon 21 years ago. His most recent position was as Director of Culinary Operations at the acclaimed Château Restaurant Joël Robuchon in Tokyo, where he maintained 3 Michelin Stars for 11 consecutive years. Before he died in 2018, Chef Joël Robuchon had decided to open 2 restaurants at 100 East 53rd Street and had already appointed Alain Verzeroli to be the Culinary Director of both projects. Unfortunately, these initial projects were no longer possible after his death. It was not until an inner voice told Chef Verzeroli that he had to take over that he knew he had to write a new chapter, coming up with two projects reflecting his philosophy and combining his experiences in Japan and France.
My Experience I was at Le Jardinier the first week of its opening and was delighted by my experience. I was there with my husband and we decided to choose a few dishes from the A La Carte selection. I was amazed by Chef Verzeroli’s cuisine based on superb seasonal vegetables, fruits and herbs that he sources locally with the utmost attention. Some dishes on the menu are vegetarian, the others are prepared with wild and sustainable fish, meat and poultry but in each case, the vegetables are clearly the stars of the plate. Chef Verzeroli works with these ingredients with respect, transforming them as little as possible, staying true to their natural flavors and beauty. And the result is amazing! I won’t forget the beauty and taste of the heirloom tomatoes, served with stone fruits and burrata, nor the poetic feeling of the white asparagus with blood orange, and watercress. The baby carrots, accompanied by snap peas, spring onions and Maine scallops felt like a garden on a plate. The Montauk bass, paired with fennel, tomato confit, Meyer lemon and olives, transported me to a sunny place. The bavette au jus was a work of art, coming with turnip, horseradish and broccolini. I loved the fact that dinner started with a shot of juice in place of an amuse-bouche and I had a crush on the bread basket which arrived with olive oil at the beginning of the meal. All the bread is gluten-free and made in house by Master Baker Tetsuya Yamaguchi who also worked with Joël Robuchon for over 20 years. That night, we were served a selection of ancient grain baguettes made with a blend of artisanal gluten-free flours including buckwheat, teff and sorghum ; seeded lavash topped with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, quinoa, matcha powder and Japanese shichimi pepper ; mini Parker House rolls made with Japanese rice flour. The desserts at Le Jardinier are the work of Salvatore Martone, whom you may know from Restaurant Joël Robuchon in Las Vegas or l’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in NYC. His creations at Le Jardinier focus on seasonal organic fruits. I chose the warm rhubarb pie. The rhubarb, lightly poached in grenadine was served with rhubarb buttermilk sorbet and presented like a flower. My husband had the strawberries with strawberry mousse and basil granita, which arrived beautifully nestled in a terrarium evoking a pretty spring garden. Both desserts were exquisite, elegant and light, with that purity of taste and perfect balance that I love in desserts. We were told that five of the seven desserts on the menu are gluten-free and that the ice cream are vegan, using cashew, oat or coconut milks. Besides the sublime cuisine, we were enchanted by the décor, the peaceful atmosphere of the restaurant and the warm and seamless service. Leaving Le Jardinier we felt like time had stopped for a few hours while we were transported to the heart of spring in a verdant garden.
Chef Alain Verzeroli will open a second restaurant this month on the second floor of the space. Its name is Shun, a term used in Japan to describe the moment when a fruit or vegetable is at its peak seasonality. Shun will be more elevated than Le Jardinier and even more centered on the seasonality of the products. Having lived in Japan for 18 years, Alain Verzeroli has been charmed by the fact that Japanese people are so much “linked to the natural pace of seasons and nature”. Doubtless something we have to relearn in our hurried world. The Cuisine at Shun will be French, Japanese influences will be found in tableware. I can already tell you that the space is splendid, with a modern and minimalistic aesthetic based on beautiful materials.