New Yorkers spend big bucks on luxury, fine dining

Here’s some hard-to-swallow news for the cranky who say the pandemic has doomed fine dining in favor of shareable plates, jaw-dropping seats, and jaw-dropping noise levels. On the contrary, restaurants are returning to luxurious comfort and classically inspired cuisine – and the astronomical prices that come with them.

It may seem counterintuitive at a time when many are struggling and the Delta variant has scared some New Yorkers out. But “a lot of money was made on the stock market and a lot of people got good jobs,” Christopher Pappas, CEO of the leading restaurant supply company, Chefs’ Warehouse, recently told Grub Street.

The signs of lucre are multiplying. Daniel Boulud’s Pavilion, a place with white tablecloths that serves a three-course, fixed-price $ 125 of modernized French cuisine, has been booked for several months. Masa, that temple of rarefied Japanese sushi at Deutsche Bank Center (formerly Time Warner), recently increased the price of its starter meal from $ 495 to $ 600.

SAGA’s chic and understated dining room at 70 Pine St. is the perfect venue for a luxury meal.
Annie Wermiel / NY Post

But nowhere is the phenomenon more surprising than the recently launched Three Horses in the West Village and Saga, which has just opened in the heart of the old financial district.

Les Trois Chevaux is inspired by the great French restaurants of New York’s past. In a daring move, men must – imagine! – wear jackets. The prix fixe three-course dinner is $ 185 per person. You must tip in advance on Resy, the only way to book.

The romantic dining room and bar, softly lit and fitted with mirrors, are comfortable with plush benches. The service is warm and calm. The meal I had was superb. Chef and owner Angie Mar seems to have found her true calling after years at the Beatrice Inn, a steak-centric establishment.

Three Horses Crépinette
At Les Trois Chevaux, chef Angie Mar offers elegant dishes, such as this crepinette.
William hereford

Mar said formal restaurants were “one of the reasons I fell in love with the city 20 years ago. I would dress up for a good night out. But they are fewer and more widely spaced.
“Even before the pandemic, the city was in this laid-back Southern California vibe. It wasn’t what I wanted to do, ”she continued. “It is very important to dine, to be at the crossroads of culture, fashion and gastronomy.

She said the decision to take the luxury route came easily. “If I wanted to open another small bistro, there are 30 in my neighborhood. “

The guests seem to agree. The 46 seats at Les Trois Chevaux have been reserved almost every evening since it opened in early July. People want to dress up and have a big meal, it seems. “A lot of people stayed at home in their pajamas for a year and a half,” said Mar.

The sparkling interiors of the Three Horses by Angie Mar.
To eat among the chandeliers and mirrors of the Three Horses, gentlemen must wear a jacket.
William hereford

Things are even dearer – and nobler – at Saga, which just opened on the 63rd floor of the art deco skyscraper in downtown 70 Pine St., the former headquarters of AIG that has been converted into apartments of luxury rental.

James Kent and Jeff Katz, who are also the chef and general manager of Crown Shy downstairs, respectively, offer one option: a seasonal tasting menu at $ 245. It’s “rooted in European cuisine,” Kent said.

The beautiful 56-seat main dining room is furnished in the warm style of a globetrotting bon vivant with brass furniture, touches of velvet and green marble. Some dishes are served on three outdoor terraces, depending on the weather.

Chef Daniel Boulud's new Midtown restaurant is Le Pavillion.
The spectacular Pavillon de Daniel Boulud is one of the most spectacular openings of the year.
Robert Miller for NY Post

Like Mar, Katz thinks repressed customers are eager to go out for dinner in the grand old style. He said, “If other New Yorkers are like us, they’re looking for an excuse to go out at night after almost two years locked in our apartments. Saga is meant to be an excuse to dress up.

He expects locals to respond emotionally not only to the distant view of the skyline and harbor, but also to the building’s unique atmosphere.

“We’ve gone to great lengths to make sure that Saga looks distinctly like New York City. The art deco details of 1932 did not detract from our business.

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