Montrachet, the critically acclaimed Tribeca French restaurant that has long been the elder statesman of the Myriad Restaurant Group's stable of venues, has been shuttered since late May for renovations, having endured a substantial chef shuffle in September of 2005. It's not closed, see, just temporarily locked up for tweaks, this according to Myriad Restaurant Group and Drew Neiporent, their fearless leader. He has assured us of as much on more than one occasion since Memorial Day '06. Summer renovations? Fine. Delays into September and October? Fine-ish. But now it's February '07 and the once-three-stared (most recently two-starred) Montrachet has been closed for 8 months and it's time to ask the hard question, will Montrachet ever open again?
Probably not—unless Drew finds a partner willing to invest a substantial chunk of money in kitchen talent and house renovations. As of yesterday, the official word is that there is nothing new to report, but we've heard from other sources there is. Namely, that Paul Liebrandt is once again in talks with Drew to take over the kitchen. He'd want an equity piece of the venue, surely, but that can probably be worked out. The problem with this is that Liebrandt isn't exactly the type of chef who would agree to work in Montrachet's ancient kitchen, as one well-informed food writer suggested to us. Since leaving Gilt, the chef has been cooking privately, for some very important, undisclosed, people and is in a position to demand certain things of his kitchen.
But if it's Liebrandt or another top chef, the issue with Montrachet remains one of just how badly does Drew, a true restaurateur (read: businessman), wants to reopen a venue that will take perhaps as much as two years to be cash positive again? What of Montrachet, indeed. Our suggestion: provided the grandfathered liquor license can be transferred, let Montrachet die with dignity and put a bar and Nobu Next Door holding pen up in there.
· Shutterwood: Montrachet [~E~]
· EaterWire: Montrachet [~E~]
· Gesualdi Out, Farnabe In at Montachet [~E~]
· Montrachet [Myriad RG]