Lee Hanson and Riad Nasr have taken over the 82-year-old restaurant, the Times reports, one that for decades has maintained a pristine reputation for Gallic classics such as leeks vinaigrette and tripe casserole. The duo — much celebrated for the opening of their Tribeca spot Frenchette — have closed the restaurant for renovations but plan to keep much the same. The name and old-school menu dishes like frog’s legs and snails will remain.
Planned changes include a new floor, a refreshed menu focused on seasonality, and potentially a move away from white tablecloths. But Hanson and Nasr are focused on keeping the restaurant’s same identity, with Nasr telling the Times that the restaurant is “as much about the atmosphere and the comfort as the food,” with Hanson adding that they “love the idea” of “keeping it alive.”
Known as NYC’s oldest bistro, Le Veau d’Or has gone through several owners in its long lifetime. The most recent owner was Catherine Treboux, who has run it since her father Robert died in 2012. He was a fixture in the restaurant since 1985, keeping things as steady as possible. She was looking to sell after being “a one-woman show” became too tiring. In its heyday, luminaries such as Truman Capote, Princess Grace, and Orson Welles frequented the red banquettes. The restaurant earned an America’s Classic James Beard Award in 2011.
Nasr and Hanson stepped out on their own in 2018 with Frenchette after years working at beloved Balthazar and Minetta Tavern under established restaurateur Keith McNally. In the last year, their renown has risen with accolades such as three stars from the Times, Eater NY’s best new restaurant of 2018, and a James Beard Award for best new restaurant 2019.
Le Veau d’Or will reopen late fall. Stay tuned for more.