The Cote d’Azur, or the French Riviera, spans along the southeast coastline of France, which includes parts of Italy and the sovereign state of Monaco. Since the 1800’s, European royalty has found solace in these turquoise seas, palm trees and 300 days of sunlight a year, enjoying opulent activities like gambling, sailing and racing cars. The cuisine found along the Mediterranean is just as sumptuous of an affair, dubbed ‘cuisine du soleil’ or ‘food of the sun,’ with the region’s rich soil bearing fresh produce and herbs for luxurious and healthy fare.
Few places in the world resemble the Riviera for the modern-day New York City dweller, seeking an homage to this fabulous lifestyle…that is, not until Chicane opened its doors in February.
Situated in the heart of Soho at 430 Broome St, Chicane is a gem among the many French and Mediterranean restaurants throughout the city. Monaco-native and owner Jerome Solamito, in partnership with Clovis Lambardan, named the venture after the Monte Carlo Grand Prix, a different and exciting concept for a restaurant.
Inside Chicane’s chic black exterior is a wonderful palette of pinks, tans, whites, greens and turquoise which delight the senses (conceptualized by Christopher Tierney and his creative agency, TIER, responsible for other hospitality brands such as Apotheke and Pulqueria). Quilted leather curved booths and bucket chairs in pink and tan provide seating for seventy-five. The furniture all playfully resembles the graphic elements and curves of a race course, as Solamito envisioned. The restaurant beams an aura of summertime; muted, pastel painted walls with added ‘vintage’ distressing, live plants, and fantastic daylight. Overall, the design is a trendy and successful fusion of New York’s club scene with the sophistication of Southern France.
The menu at Chicane is decidedly French with Mediterranean influences, created by Executive Chef Andres Grundy (previously at Daniel, Le Cirque, and L’Arpege). A range of dishes (priced from $7-$32) include raw bar items of Tuna and Steak Tartare and Local Oysters on the Half Shell to classic entrees like Bouillabaisse (branzino and snapper braised in garlic broth, mussels, clams, rouille) and Tuna a La Plancha (crispy panisse, dried black olives and ratatouille jus). Some unique Riviera specialties offered insight into Solamito’s heritage, such as Barbajuans (crepe made of chickpeas and olive oil filled with swiss chard and ricotta) and Pissaladiere (caramalized onions, nicoise olives and anchovies).
I experienced the making of two of Chicane’s signature cocktails, “Le Provencal” (Hendricks Gin, fresh lemon juice, strawberry puree, basil and egg white) and the “Grace D’Hiver” (Beluga vodka, muddled cherries, St Germain, fresh lime juice, and soda)- each created masterfully with distinct flavor profiles. In addition to these two, Chicane offers four other handcrafted cocktails.
Chicane is currently open Tuesday-Saturdays and is closed on Sundays and Mondays. The bar opens at 5pm and dinner is served from 6pm-12AM. There is room for private events and a lively late night scene.
For more information, please visit chicanenyc.com
–Joseph Amella, Jr.