Seminal Upper West Side chef Tom Valenti — the man often credited with bringing high-end dining to the neighborhood with restaurants like the now-closed Ouest — is coming back after close to a year out of commission.
The chef, who had a brief stint at Le Cirque last year, will be taking the range at a new restaurant called Oxbow Tavern, located at 240 Columbus Ave., between West 71st and 72nd streets, in the space of now-shuttered Cafe Tallulah. Valenti says he wants to open Oxbow Tavern as soon as the beginning of March. Though he rose to prominence as a fine dining chef, Oxbow Tavern will be a a casual neighborhood spot, Valenti says.
Still, “There will be bits of Ouest, some French-leaning dishes along with burgers,’’ he tells Eater. The menu will include dishes such as coq au vin; salmon gravlax with chickpea pancake, caviar, and creme fraiche; and ragout of braised pork with pastina and sauce vert, as well as a simply grilled section with fish and chicken, and a large array of sides.
Valenti closed his flagship French restaurant Ouest back in 2015 after 14 years in business. He’s also run Cesca and now-shuttered restaurant The West Branch and is a shareholder in Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. The chef, who’s also put out a slew of cookbooks, for years was known as one of the city’s finest cooks for his rustic style and signatures like braised lamb shank and salmon gravlax.
But after Ouest closed, he hasn’t been in the spotlight much. Though his move to the now-shuttered but legendary restaurant Le Cirque was a big deal in January 2017, he wasn’t there for long. By March of last year, the restaurant filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and the chef resigned.