The New York Times checks in on the players from Major Food Group, Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi, and Jeff Zalaznick, who have been working full throttle on the details surrounding the opening of the Landmark Rooms at the Seagram Building — formerly known as the Four Seasons.
Every week for the past year, they’ve been testing dishes in what had been Torrisi Italian Specialties, now closed. According to reporter Tejal Rao, the team already has draft menus for the Grill and the Pool.
So when can we expect the Landmark to open? Rao reports: “The Grill, their grand, retro steakhouse in the former Grill Room, is scheduled to open in April, with Mr. Carbone as its executive chef. No firm opening date has been set for the Pool, the modern, Japanese-influenced seafood restaurant in the former Pool Room, where Mr. Torrisi will be the executive chef.”
The back-burner project in the property is the renovation of the downstairs casual space, formerly Brasserie.
In an era when many New York restaurants and restaurant groups are plagued by uncertainty, Major Food has become a force, having opened restaurants like Parm, Carbone, Dirty French, and ZZ’s Clam Shack in rapid succession, with often impressive results. When red sauce juggernaut Carbone debuted in 2013, the Times’ Pete Wells gave it three stars. When the Southern Italian fantasy that is Santina opened in 2015, Eater’s Ryan Sutton awarded it two stars. This project is a pinnacle.
Among the group’s challenges is how they will overcome the long shadow of the previous tenant as well as “how and how much” to change up the power setting of the iconic space. Later this year, proprietors Julian Niccolini and Alex Von Bidder will reopen the Four Seasons at 280 Park Ave.
As far as design, Major Food is limiting changes due to landmark protections. The ceilings and paneling has been cleaned and restored; there’s new carpeting with an “oxblood-colored pattern that would not have looked out of place when the Four Seasons opened in 1959;” and the designer of the original chairs at the Four Seasons, Knoll, has been commissioned to produce new ones similar to the originals.
The Four Seasons owners are doing their own preparations as well. Niccolini and chef Pecko Zantilaveevan are popping up at Brennan’s in New Orleans Feb. 8 - 11, where Zantilaveevan will offer an a la carte menu of Four Seasons classics as well a testing of new dishes alongside menu items from Brennan’s chef, Slade Rushing.