On Wednesday — the same day other New York City businesses were fully reopening for the first time in 14 months — the newest restaurant in one of the city's newest buildings opened its doors for the first time ever.
Michelin-starred Chef Daniel Boulud officially opened the doors to Le Pavillon at One Vanderbilt Avenue in midtown. Located at the corner of Vanderbilt Avenue and East 42nd Street, Le Pavillon sits directly across from Grand Central Terminal in midtown’s tallest tower and is the most dynamic restaurant opening in New York City in more than a year.
“I can’t think of a more fitting moment to open Le Pavillon,” said Chef Daniel Boulud. “Despite the many, many challenges that we have faced in the last year our commitment to creating this dining destination never wavered and, in fact, we are more certain than ever that this celebration of cuisine, nature and architecture is exactly what New Yorkers need right now. It is my sincere hope that this is an opportunity to celebrate New York City for all of us.”
The pricey, 11,000-square-foot dining oasis features a winding garden path, seamlessly blending nature and architecture in the heart of Midtown. Surrounded by nature, Boulud created a culinary retreat for New Yorkers and visitors to be reenergized with fresh, healthy, locally-sourced ingredients.
The restaurant concept was inspired by the traditional pavilions found throughout France, in parks or avenues lined with beautiful gardens and trees, which are places for celebrations and gathering, and their striking similarities to the wonderful tree-lined plaza and the garden within Le Pavillon.
An unmasked Mayor Bill de Blasio was on hand to help cut the ribbon for the new restaurant, and said its opening exemplifies the city's re-emergence following 14 months of COVID shutdowns and restrictions.
“This is a symbol of New York City coming back right here, right now,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Today’s announcement is about sending one message, loud and clear: Bon Appetit, New Yorkers!”
He's not the only one who feels that way, as Boulud believes this restaurant's opening is about more than Michelin stars and Zagat ratings. Even the founder of Zagat agrees.
"It's the best single shot in the arm you could possibly have for the city at a time like this," said Tim Zagat. To be sure, he gave the restaurant a 30 for decor (for those unfamiliar with the old Zagat rating scale, that's a perfect score) as he sat at one of the 120 tables under soaring 57-foot ceilings.
As for what to get, Boulud recommends oysters Vanderbilt — a dish that executive chef Mike Balboni said is their play on oysters Rockefeller that is "made with oysters, a little bit of bacon inside, little bit of hazelnut and the crust is made out of seaweed."
Grabbing one of the 46 seats at the bar will offer patrons a view of the Chrysler Building and Grand Central, as the restaurants and businesses in midtown try to recover despite many offices not returning in full until September.