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Restaurant Openings

Week of April 16, 2007: Provence, Resto, Gold St., and Zipper Tavern.


Toast and toppings at Provence.  

38 Macdougal St., nr. Prince St; 212-475-7500
Vicki Freeman and Marc Meyer might not have been the only customers of Soho’s venerable Provence who’d had a romantic attachment to the place (they’d gotten engaged there), but they’re the only ones to act on it. Last fall, they bought the lease from longtime owner Michel Jean, and next week, they plan to reopen the restaurant with the same name and spirit. Provence is an aesthetic departure from the couple’s Five Points and Cookshop, and if it looks a bit like a photo spread in a glossy food magazine, that might be because it was designed by Saveur veterans Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton. The team blended original details like wood paneling and French tile with new ones, like a marble bar and Pierre Deux seat cushions, making for a backdrop as persuasively Provençal as Lynn McNeely’s menu. The chef, late of Barbuto and a five-month stint in France, has a raw bar and cheese table at his disposal, and covers all the regional bases, from soupe de poissons and chickpea crêpes to Vermont-lamb daube.

111 E. 29th St., nr. Park Ave. S.; 212-685-5585
When you think of Belgian food, you think of mussels, fries, waffles, and chocolate—all of which will appear in profusion at Resto, opening this Wednesday. But owner Christian Pappanicholas, onetime manager at ’inoteca and Otto, sees no reason to stop there. Inspired by Belgium’s diverse food culture and its three-star restaurants, he hired chef Ryan Skeen, a veteran of Café Boulud and San Francisco’s Elisabeth Daniel, to show its sophisticated side. Hence, charred sepia with grapefruit and bitter almond, spiced lamb ribs with yogurt and pickled tomato, and housemade sausages using meats from local farms. Skeen doesn’t neglect classic comfort food, either: There’s eggs Benedict with Liège waffles at brunch and beef-cheek carbonnade at dinner, and he tops his burger with Chimay cheese. If it’s Chimay beer you’re after, it’s on the list, along with 61 other Belgian varieties.

Gold St.
2 Gold St., at Platt St.; 212-747-0797
No one has done more to fill the underserved bellies of financial-district denizens than the father-and-son team of Harry and Peter Poulakakos. The culinary fiefdom that began with Harry’s at Hanover Square has expanded over time to include Bayard’s (now a private-event space), Adrienne’s Pizzabar, the Irish pub Ulysses, and three branches of Financier Patisserie. Their latest, Gold St., a 24-hour glorified diner replete with sushi bar, open kitchen, and the most eclectic menu below Chambers Street, opens April 12 in a swanky new 53-floor luxury rental. The décor plays up the gilded theme, but comfy booths, all-day breakfast, and abundant outdoor seating have an Everyman appeal.

Zipper Tavern
336 W. 37th St., nr. Eighth Ave.; 212-695-4600
Two words no gastronome ever likes to see in close proximity: dinner and theater. That could change this week when veteran chef Larry Kolar gives the space adjacent to the Zipper Theatre (which recently housed his short-lived Pan-Latin restaurant Camino Sur) another shot with a new gastropubby concept and menu. In the old-world spirit of the neighborhood, Kolar is curing and smoking his own charcuterie meats and making sauerkraut and sausages, all of which you can wash down with buckets of beer served at any one of the three Zipper bars.


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