Thirteen years ago, New York City's dining scene, not to mention its real estate market, was permanently altered by the opening of TriBeCa's now legendary Montrachet. Today, most people who consider themselves serious about food make a pilgrimage to the three-star French culinary mecca on West Broadway. In the intervening years, the charming and unpretentious Montrachet has seen a half a dozen important chefs come and go but the food has remained consistently wonderful. Since taking over the stoves last spring, however, Rémi Lauvand has given all of his predecessors a run for their money.
Lauvand was born in a small village near Périgord in southwestern France, an area famous for foie gras and truffles (both items that Lauvand uses with a very sure hand). He graduated from hotel school, worked briefly in Paris and Germany, then spent two years traveling through Europe cooking on the legendary Orient Express. Next, he perfected his technique at the two-star restaurant of Gérard Pangaud. In 1984 Lauvand was invited to New York to work as sous-chef at La Grenouille. Jobs at Le Cirque (under Daniel Boulud and Sylvain Portay) and Tropica followed. On December 31, 1997, restaurateur Drew Nieporent called Lauvand to wish him a Happy New Year and, not incidentally, to talk business. Early in the new year, Lauvand was installed at Montrachet.
With Lauvand at the stoves, the restaurant has been showered with stars: The New York Times, Crain's New York Business, and The New York Observer awarded it three each. Reviewers have noted favorably that Lauvand has nudged the restaurant ever closer to France, eschewing trendy fusion food for elegant, straightforward classics. "He is totally assured in the kitchen," Ruth Reichl wrote in her review in the Times. She found his terrine of foie gras "utterly voluptuous," his roast chicken with potato purée and garlic sauce "memorable," and his sweet-breads with carrots, chanterelles, and Parmesan "a textbook example of sweet-bread cooking." A review in Crain's New York Business praised individual dishes, the chef himself, and the "exceptionally devoted and detailed service, " concluding, "It's a true pleasure to dine there."
Assorted Hors d'Oeuvre
Terrine of Beef Shank
Matelote of Lobster
Roasted Scottish Pheasant