After some delay, the Four Seasons Restaurant will attempt to make its way back into the lexicon of NYC’s power dining next week.
The Times reports that Alex von Bidder and the notoriously handsy Julian Niccolini — who pled guilty to misdemeanor assault for groping a woman — have spent some $30 million to build out the new space for their famed restaurant, which left the Seagram building in 2016 and is now located in a less historic building at 42 East 49th St. at Park Avenue in Midtown.
It’s got two-stories, a bar room with a sunken centerpiece mimicking the landmarked pool in the restaurant’s longtime former space, and a “beige and honey” dining room, all designed by Brazilian architect Isay Weinfeld. The new Four Seasons is also smaller than the old one, with about 110 seats to the former 160.
Despite questions on whether Niccolini should be allowed a comeback in the post-#MeToo world, von Bidder and Niccolini have managed to rally up quite a dining team. Besides Le Bernardin alum Diego Garcia as executive chef, the Times reports that Obama-era White House pastry chef Bill Yosses will be taking care of the sweets.
Yosses will be doing his versions of famed Four Seasons desserts like the fancy cake and chocolate velvet cake and will add seasonal dishes like a peach cream tart. Garcia, along with fellow Le Bernardin alum and chef de cuisine Brandon Lajes, will continue to do favorite dishes from the seminal original, such as the duck, but like Yosses, he is adding his own flair here. Expect more seafood, like a charred squid with snow peas and turbot for two.
The Four Seasons is one of New York’s most legendary restaurants. Opened in 1959, it helped define the modern age of seasonal fine dining in the city, and eventually also became known as the lunch hot spot for the rich and powerful. Martha Stewart was a known regular, as were JFK, Barbara Walters, Truman Capote, Oscar de la Renta, Nora Ephron, and Warren Buffet.
Besides its legacy as a dining destination, it occupied one of the only interior landmarked spaces in the city. But in 2015, the building’s owner Aby Rosen refused to renew the lease on the restaurant, bringing in Major Food Group to open the Grill.
Niccolini and von Bidder promised to reopen the restaurant elsewhere. Now, Niccolini tells the Times that people are already going into the new space to pick their tables.
This opening, though anticipated, isn’t without controversy. Aside from the debut in an era newly cognizant of sexual misconduct in the restaurant industry, it’s still not clear whether the Four Seasons’ longtime, unionized staff will be joining the new location. Shortly before the last one closed, employees threatened to go on strike — saying that they did not yet have a guarantee of a job at the new location.
Eater has reached out to the partners for more info. Update: A spokesperson says that old staff has been rehired and any new staff will join the union.