Who is Margot? That may be the first question on the minds of diners who stop by Fort Greene’s latest destination restaurant, opening at 69 Lafayette Avenue, at South Elliott Place, on Thursday, May 4.
Margot isn’t on the all-women ownership team, compromised of wine bar alums Halley Chambers, Kip Green, and chef Alexia Duchêne, who’s worked at top restaurants in Paris and London. In fact, she’s not even real, but rather, the type of person they imagine in their new restaurant: “She’s self-directed. She loves a martini, and she’s a little chaotic and wild,” says Chambers of their imaginary friend.
Chambers was previously the director of the Oberon Group, overseeing Rucola, a restaurant in Boerum Hill, and Rhodora nearby Margot in Fort Greene, as well as June wine bar in Cobble Hill, where she met Green, around four years ago.
After years of feeling snoozy and staid, a relic of a different era of dining, French restaurants have seen an uptick in the last couple of years in New York. Margot doesn’t call itself a French restaurant, but its techniques pull from the region, remixed with its own flairs and pasta. The kitchen is led by chef and partner Duchêne, who has made a name for herself abroad cooking at spots like Paris’s own hip restaurant-bars, including Fulgurances, Datsha Underground, and Allard with Alain Ducasse. Before opening Margot, she was in residence at Fulgurances’s Greenpoint sibling restaurant, where she tested some of the dishes that now appear on the menu.
The seasonal menu lists dishes like carrot tortellini with green curry butter; nettle cavatelli with cockles, and radicchio; pork neck with crab and tamarind soubise; and lamb saddle, made to share. Duchêne worked in pastry for a French restaurant, Frenchie Covent Garden, in London and is especially excited about her desserts: a chocolate tart with maitake mushrooms, a ricotta tart with rhubarb and pistachios, as well as a vanilla sundae with miso fudge and peanuts are on the opening menu and will rotate. Cheese plates are offered in collaboration with C. Hesse Cheese, a wholesale cheese distributor, which started after Crown Finish Caves shut down.
“I feel like French food is not always understood outside of France,” Duchêne says. “A lot of people think it’s like all snails or other things we barely eat.”
Green’s wine list is mainly European, with a lot of the wines from France. “I think we’re trying to bridge the gap between ultra-fun, a little bit funky, and something a little bit more serious or clean in the glass,” said Green.
The trio, who have formed their own hospitality group, Three Top, with aspirations already to expand, also have an upstairs pop-up space in the works, that they hope to extend for community events and workshops.
Margot is open seven days a week from 5 to 10 p.m. Reservations are open on Resy.