L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon
The Four Seasons Hotel
57 E 57th Street
New York , NY
Having dined at various Joel Rubuchon places over the years in Paris, when L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon open nearly two years ago at The Four Seasons Hotel we were first in line to get a reservation. But given the initial hype and way too much attitude it took a long time to really want to dine there for a real meal.
When we learned Joel Rubuchon would be in New York for a week, which he does at least twice a year we booked a reservation at the counter. We were fortunate that not only Robuchon was in the kitchen and the dining area during our latest meal, but his two top Parisian chefs (Philippe Braun and Eric Bouchenoire) were overseeing the kitchen. Braun who oversees L’Atelier in Paris is lively and spontaneous as is his cooking, while Bouchenoire is intense and committed to the finest preparations as he demonstrates at La Table Joel Robuchon. With these three top chefs in the kitchen, the New York kitchen was performing at its absolute best.
And while there are tables, the counter is really the only place to sit to really experience the L'Atelier experience, be it in Manhattan or Paris. The 20 counter seats surround three sides of the open kitchen area, and provide an intimate insight into French haute cuisine preparations. While the remainder of the dining are is pleasant the scale of the I M Pei designed hotel free space is a bit overwhelming, as is the sameness as the area at the entrance to the dining room and the adjacent bar.
While food is the reason to come to L'Atelier, the service makes it all that more enjoyable. General Manager and chief sommelier Stephane Colling runs a tight ship. At the counter the waiter are always within close proximity and they provide outstanding service, as do the bussers who make course presentations a special event, multiple times per meal.
The wine list developed by Colling is first class containing hidden treasures, including wines from small boutique French wineries that are unknown outside France. If you are unsure, check with Colling and he will guide you to a wine. Further his wine pairings are well selected and served.
L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon - Highly Recommended