As Alain Ducasse is closing at the Essex House, Joel Robuchon, the well-know french top chef, just opened L'Atelier at the Four Season in New York in September.
Built in the space formerly occupied by the restaurant 57/57, L'Atelier's most striking feature is the Ushaped counter. The counter seats face an open kitchen, a design that calls to mind Spanish tapas and Tokyo sushi bars.
This is the fourth L’Atelier Robuchon outlet to open around the globe, the other three being in Paris, Tokyo, and Las Vegas (Robuchon has a fifth restaurant in London). All of the L’Atelier establishments (the name means “workshop”) are built around the traditional Japanese concepts of small-plate, omakase (chef’s choice) tastings and dining at the bar, and Robuchon shuttles among them, adjusting recipes and menus.
The menu is organized into four parts: small plates, larger entrées, the "discovery tasting menu," and dessert. Around the globe, Mr. Robuchon's Atelier menus are almost identical, including items like the langoustine en papillote with basil and hand-cut beef tartare with French fries.
Among the international culinary community, Joel Robuchon is recognized as one of the most important chefs of modern cooking. The French guide "Gault-Millau" named him "the chef of the century" in 1989, and the moniker has practically become his middle name. His two Paris restaurants, Jamin (1981–1993) and Restaurant Joël Robuchon on Avenue Raymond-Pointcaré (1994–1996), held three Michelin stars each.
L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Four Seasons Hotel, 57 E. 57th St., between Park and Madison avenues, 212-350-6658.