Chef Laurent Gras who cooked for years in New York, including at the now-closed Bistro du Vent and Peacock Alley at the Waldorf Astoria, recently opened this new seafood restaurant and it’s the talk of town.
Frank Bruni, who chose the restaurant as one of the country’s outstanding newcomers, writes in the New York Times: “The thrill of some restaurants lies in how successfully they create their own worlds, seemingly apart from outside influences, while the thrill of others lies in the extensive, intricate conversation they seem to be having with their predecessors and peers. L2O, a new seafood restaurant in this city’s Lincoln Park section, is a real talker. It has a few words for the Manhattan standard-bearer Jean Georges, a message along the lines of: “Love the scallops with caramelized cauliflower you’ve long served, but I might have an improvement on its raisin emulsion. I’m thinking passion fruit, in subtler measure.”
Read the complete Bruni review here.
Opened in July 2007 by Emmanuel Nony, a charming Frenchman who looks a little like Sting, Sepia is already buzzing. The dining room, in a restored 1890s print shop, has a warm ambiance, with exposed brick walls, custom Art Nouveau tile floors and communal tables. “We tried to keep a lot of the original architectural details,” Nony explains. “Like the setting, the cuisine is inspired by tradition and craftsmanship; it’s rustic and simple but prepared with the best materials.” Chef Kendal Duque, whose provenance includes stints at Masa, in San Francisco, and Tru, emphasizes local, often organic ingredients. You might start with thin crispy flatbread with applewood-smoked bacon and Berkshire blue cheese and progress to the delicious frisée salad with sherry vinegar and spicy lamb sausage. Save room for dessert; I love the bittersweet-chocolate crêpes with fresh figs and pistachio ice cream. The cocktail menu features tempting homemade specialties, like the Pear Nectar (pear-and-green-tea-infused gin with agave nectar).
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