Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Drew and Paul sitting in a tree

June 4

All the rumors turned out to be true. Drew Nieporent is going to reopen the space that once was Montrachet with Paul Liebrandt doing the food.
Of course Drew gave an exclusive about the restaurant to The New York Times for its Wednesday food section, and the release landed in my own e-mail box at 9:33 this morning.
But in case you don’t want to read the Times, here are the basics: The restaurant will be called Corton, and they expect to open it at the end of Summer. If memory serves correctly, Mr. Nieporent tends to open his restaurants more-or-less on time, and I know that Mr. Liebrandt was ordering sous-vide equipment as early as last April.
According to the press release, Corton’s food will be “modern French.”
The name, like “Montrachet,” is a wine region in Burgundy. Cute.
It will feature a tasting menu and a three-course prix-fixe menu.
It will have 70-seats and be designed by Stephanie Goto, who also “collaborated” on Morimoto and Monkey Bar in New York, the release said.
For back story on all of this, please click here.

And just a bit more background on Mr. Liebrandt: The 32-year-old cut his teeth early on in London, working for British bad-boy chef Marco Pierre-White, now 47, who inspired a generation of genius-jerk chefs in the UK, the most famous of whom is 41-year-old Gordon Ramsay.
In New York Mr. Liebrandt worked as David Bouley’s sous chef at Bouley Bakery when it got a four-star review in The New York Times, and soon after that he left to work at Atlas.
When I first interviewed Mr. Liebrandt he invoked the name of molecular gastronomer Pierre Gagnaire as his inspiration (he didn’t use that term, which had not yet come in and then fallen out of vogue). In today’s Times story he tells Florence Fabricant that the chef he currently admires is Michel Bras. I don’t think I would be over-interpreting to say that he’s trying to get away from his reputation as a kooky chef whose food shocks more than it delights. (I’m not saying he deserves that reputation, I’ve always liked his food).
Mr. Liebrandt also has a reputation of being, well, cut from the same cloth as Ramsay and Pierre-White in terms of temperament. It will be interesting to see how he and Drew get along.

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