Stepping into Duane Park is like stepping back in time. Inside the turn-of-the-century dining room, chandeliers from a Louisiana plantation sprinkle light on the scene below, where visitors sip on handcrafted cocktails and clean their invisible monocles. On stage, a roster of featured entertainers ranging from crooners to sultry sirens belts out ballads from the past seven decades?including tunes from the American songbook and current hits.
Of course, no show is complete without Duane Park's scantily clad burlesque performers, who sashay throughout the room to a chorus of "oohs" and "ahhs" from the crowd. Amidst the entertainment, visitors can dive into the venue's elegant cuisine, too, which ranges from grilled filet of branzino to southern ribs.
David Bouley grew up on his grandparents’ farm in Connecticut, where his appreciation for fresh, healthful ingredients took root. His family’s French heritage led to another kind of appreciation, and he eventually worked at restaurants in France and Switzerland before taking up his studies at the Sorbonne. Upon returning to America, he stepped right into the kitchens at Le Cirque and La Cote Basque, drawing on the skills he gleaned working under legendary chefs Joel Robuchon and Paul Bocuse. Bouley now oversees his own campus of eateries in Tribeca, and none better evinces his craft than the restaurant that bears his name. His famous attention to detail is on display as soon as the staff calls to confirm your reservations, at which point you can request how you’d like your napkin folded and share dietary restrictions that the chefs take into account when preparing your meal. Though they change seasonally, the regular menus have recently featured a black sea bass with grilled bamboo shoots and pine-nut dressing and a Scottish langoustine with sea scallops and foie gras sauce. The restaurant’s interior echoes Bouley’s rustic upbringing. Upon entering the foyer, guests might note the mingling scents of fresh apples and weathered wood repurposed from an abandoned farmhouse. There’s a regal element to the décor, as well; stone extracted from the same quarry that furnished Versailles ornaments the walls, fireplaces, and staircases.
Georges Forgeois––of Cafe Noir, Jules Bistro, and Bar Tabac fame–– set his sights on Tribeca, where he established his charming brasserie, Cercle Rouge. Here, French classics are presented at their most elegant, for which the kitchen staff practices the mantra “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Executive Chef Pierre Landet showcases imported French cheeses, Merguez sausages, fresh oysters, and wild salmon in his hors d’eouvres and plats, which appear on the menu alongside croque monsieurs and three types of moules frites. Whether seated indoors on wicker chairs and plush leather banquettes or outside on the terrace, diners enjoy pleasant views while sipping one of six signature cocktails or a glass of French or American wine. Inside, aged mirrors and framed posters of the Folies Bergères and Parisian art exhibits adorn the walls, while the patio is surrounded by flowerboxes packed with red blooms and bountiful greenery.
In the space formerly occupied by il Matto stands a new Tribeca dining concept dedicated to crafting inventive cocktails to round out a seasonal menu of updated Italian dishes. In addition to her contemporary takes on classic mixed drinks, mixologist Cristina Bini stirs a cavalcade of unlikely ingredients into her specialty cocktails, such as stones, tree barks, and dried grasshoppers. Chef Matteo Boglione helms efforts in the kitchen to infuse classic Italian dishes such as pappardelle, ravioli, and lasagna with contemporary twists such as black-truffle sauce, ossobuco ragu, and online bill payments.
Simon Herfray, a French native hailing from the Vend?e region, is a master's-degree-certified pastry chef and baker. He's whisked and sculpted fine treats for esteemed establishments in the London and New York culinary scenes?Aubaine and Bluebird in South Kensington, Falai and Caf? M Studio in Manhattan, and Bacchus Bistro and La D?fense Bistro in Brooklyn.
At French'Encas, Simon directs his world-class sweetmeat techniques toward kitchens full of apron-wearing students and in-disguise dentists. Whether it's their first or hundredth time gripping pastry bags and whisks, attendees handcraft their very own macarons, chocolate-lemon tarts, chocolate fondant, and full quiche lorraine meals. Some classes cater to advanced students, some cover basics, and others suit all skill levels. And when not instructing students, Simon and his team whip up treats for parties and other events.
While working long hours as an investment banker, Dawn Cameron often found herself dreaming of tea?of the brightness of the mint, the calmness of the chamomile, and the crispness of the matcha green. Her world was a portrait of the high-paced New York work environment, thrumming with caffeinated coffee junkies, screaming phones, and lost carrier pigeons. Seeking respite and finding none readily available, Dawn created her own: Sanctuary T.
Surrounded by the cork-paneled walls of the tranquil, sunlit dining room, her guests perch on woven chairs and wooden stools, sipping more than 70 available varieties of tea. To ensure fresh flavors, tea gurus bag each serving by hand. When explaining this process to reporters from Metromix, Dawn explained, "there's a fullness to the [teas'] flavor. When machines process the teabag, you lose that character."
Deep in the kitchen, chefs whip up innovative dishes that pair well with well-steeped beverages including tea-infused specialty cocktails lauded by reporters from the New York Post. Behind the bar, mixologists preside over extensive beer and wine lists that earned Sanctuary T designation as a Top Beer and Wine Bar from the raconteurs at Shecky's Nightlife. Shecky's writers also heaped praise on the bar's specialty cocktails, which they referred to approvingly as both "holistic" and "trippy".