Sometimes a reason to go to a splurgy dinner on a random Thursday night is simply the fact that you can walk home. Being residents of the Upper East Side does have its perks, but unfortunately the restaurant scene (while definitely improving) is far from buzzing and happening.
We popped by to check out Michael White’s new French venture – Vaucluse. The warm, welcoming and airy lounge bar is perfect for an after work cocktail or casual date, and the dining area is more formal with vaulted ceilings and great lighting. Love the greige (grey+beige) color scheme. This was all the rage back in 2005 yet still feels fresh and chic. Maybe we’re just jaded and used to the $20 cocktail, but surprisingly the price points at Vaucluse are very reasonable. $14 cocktails and plenty of wines by the glass under $20, with an equally friendly wine list. The menu itself also didn’t feel too punchy, even though we were happy to splurge – especially given the Michelin starred chef. Not to despair, there are of course splurgy options. You can always start off with a few ounces of caviar, paired perhaps with a 2009 Chavalier-Montrachet Grand Cru Domaine Leflaive, and move onto the ‘pour deux’ roasted canard, washed down with a 1995 Chateau Palmer. À la prochaine…
Highlights from our visit included the classic foie gras terrine, and the pillowy, dreamy artisanal lobster raviolo – definitely has the Michael White magical touch. There was the odd question mark in the tarte aux pommes de terre, which had great flavor but felt a little hodge podgy and busy. (Nevertheless, we polished it off anyway.) And actually if you’re parked up at the bar, one might pair the potato tarte it with a tall beer for a perfect afterwork fall nibble. So perhaps it’s just a matter of context for that puppy.
Being high end-barbarians, we opted for a third course: the cotelette de porc. A berkshire pork chop, paired with apple, roasted endive, walnuts and bergamot. Juicy and light, its the perfect entrée to welcome the New York fall. As we were tackling the pig, Michael White himself made the rounds and came by to say hello to every diner. Always a nice touch to see chef himself chatting happily with satisfied guests.
All in all, Vaucluse is a great mix of approachable high end, with friendly, impeccable service. There’s something on the menu for every budget and appetite, including the requisite burger – in this case the “White” label. We loved Vaucluse, and will be strolling back soon. We are excited for our fabulous new French neighbor, its just the perfect spot Park Avenue needed.
100 East 63rd Street / at Park Avenue
NY NY 10065
Tel. +1 646 869 2300