This stunner here is Benoit, Alain Ducasse's casual follow up to Adour, set to open this Monday. Part of what the Times is calling a new French renaissance in New York, Ducasse poured a great deal of time and money into this place (it cost more than Adour) hoping it wouldn't go the way of the former inhabitant, La Côte Basque. Luckily, he is basing it on a successful model, as Benoit is an almost one hundred year old French chain that he just took over two years ago.
If it reminds you of Balthazar, it's no coincidence. Ducasse looks to the restaurant as the shining example of successful French bistro food in New York and is taking on McNally's close attention to detail. According to the Times the French chef got most of the fixtures and the large cloud painting on the ceiling at flea markets in Paris. As for the food, a look at the menu reveals all the expected classics: foie gras, roast chicken for two, escargot, and the like, and Ducasse says he plans to add one hundred more options. The critics, the foodies, everyone's going to stop in to see what Ducasse has come up with, so stay tuned. More reading here and here.