Nearly a year after restaurateur Andrew Tarlow left the Wythe Hotel, the downstairs restaurant space is finally getting a total makeover. Reynard has closed, and next month, the chefs behind destination Greenpoint bistro Chez Ma Tante will be opening French brasserie Le Crocodile there in its place, Grub Street reports.
It’s not a total surprise that the Reynard space is swapping: Jon Neidich of Golden Age Hospitality group (Slowly Shirly, Acme) took over all food and beverage operations at the Williamsburg hotel in February, and soon after, he brought on chefs Aidan O’Neal and Jake Leiber from Chez Ma Tante to do food at the rooftop bar Lemon’s.
At Le Crocodile, the two chefs will steer the menu toward pastas and French brasserie classics such as whole fish, escargot, and grilled chicken. But they’re taking inspiration from New York-ified versions of the genre, such as the Odeon and Balthazar, and pulling from work experience at Barbuto.
O’Neal and Leiber are best known for straightforward, consistent rustic Canadian-ish fare at Chez Ma Tante, which landed them four stars from Eater and two stars from the Times. The restaurant is a neighborhood favorite and known for serving one of the city’s best brunches, where craggy pancakes are a must-order.
Meanwhile, Reynard stuck around Williamsburg for a good seven years, becoming a neighborhood stand-by and swapping some chefs. It was last helmed to much acclaim by chef Christina Lecki, who stayed after Tarlow left but departed before the closure.
Le Crocodile is slated to open mid-October at the hotel, located at 80 Wythe Ave., on North 11th Street, a restaurant spokesperson tells Eater. Stay tuned for more.