Au revoir, dry-aged prime rib with ethereal pommes souflees: Cherche Midi, Keith McNally’s meaty and critically acclaimed Lower East Side bistro, closed over the weekend after four years on Bowery.
The team behind the restaurant told Eater earlier this year that an expiration of its lease was the reason for shuttering. According to a notice posted on the New York State Department of Labor Website, the end of Cherche Midi meant laying off 46 staffers.
McNally first came to the space, on the corner of Bowery and Houston, in 2008, when he opened Pulino’s, a thin-crust pizzeria that was never really embraced by diners or critics. It was reborn as Cherche Midi in 2014, to almost immediate acclaim.
Pete Wells of the Times awarded two stars; Hugh Merwin of Grub Street called it the “perfect bistro,” and this critic applauded it as well. “McNally continues to traffic in a seemingly impossible paradox: creating venues that feel like perpetually exclusive after-parties for pretty people even though they’re still open (and welcoming) to walk-ins,” I wrote in my two-star review.
It’s McNally’s second high-profile closure in as many years. His Schillor’s Liquor Bar shuttered last May after a 14-year run, while Pastis shuttered in Meatpacking in 2014. But the British-born restaurateur continues to operate some of the city’s most popular restaurants, including the all-day Balthazar, the Michelin-starred steakhouse that is Minetta Tavern, and Augustine, the gold-tinted brasserie in the Financial District. Pastis is also set to reopen in the West Village. McNally is still one of NYC’s top restaurateurs despite the closures.