Chef Alain Verzeroli — who worked for 21 years under the late French chef Joël Robuchon — opens his second solo restaurant today, completing the two-restaurant project he set out to build in a luxe Midtown high-rise.
His newest addition to the condo building at 100 East 53rd St., where he opened vegetable-focused Le Jardinier last month, is a high-end French-Japanese restaurant called Shun. Though both restaurants share a common thread in seasonal cooking, Shun is centered on French fare with Japanese influences, with dishes like lemongrass lobster and seaweed-infused breads.
Though Shun offers a seafood-leaning prix fixe menu, Verzeroli gives it a luxurious touch with an eight-course tasting. Staple dishes will include the lemongrass lobster, scallops crudo, duck à l’orange, and king crab with daikon, herbs, and honey.
Verzeroli has built quite the team to helm his new restaurant and bar: Desserts come from executive pastry chef Salvatore Martone, who also worked with Robuchon for over a decade in Las Vegas and New York. Tetsuya Yamaguchi, another 20-year Robuchon devotee, takes the role as head baker. And drinks are in the hands of former Jungsik sommelier Roberto Longo, now the beverage director for both Shun and Le Jardinier, as well as master mixologist Dushan Zaric, who founded Employees Only.
Yamaguchi, the baker, is behind a robust bread program that fuses flour with Japanese ingredients like seaweed and red miso.
Shun’s 58-seat dining room will be on the second level of the building and also comes with a separate 38-seat cocktail lounge dubbed Bar Shun. Aside from spirits, the bar also serves small dishes like curry shrimp toast and cod croquettes. Meanwhile, wines come mostly from the French regions of Champagne, Bordeaux, and Burgundy.
Shun is named after the Japanese tradition of seasonality, in which food should only be eaten in its proper season. “In Japan, you really focus on the ingredient first and build around. People are very linked to the natural pace of seasons. I would like these two restaurants to be linked to nature and the natural rhythm,” he told Eater when he opened Le Jardinier. “During winter upstairs, I will not allow myself to buy any tomatoes. Let’s focus on the natural ingredients of this time.”
Previously, Verzeroli served as director of culinary operations at the Robuchon’s lauded Tokyo restaurant, where he helped maintain the restaurant’s three Michelin stars for 11 years. He then moved to NYC to help Robuchon with his upcoming restaurants here.
Verzeroli opened both his new restaurants inside a high-end condo tower developed by Aby Rosen. Both spaces were designed by award-winning French architect Joseph Dirand; Le Jardiniar carries an airy, plant-filled aesthetic while Shun sports a sleeker look.
Shun is open for dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and until 10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Lunch will kick in this September.