FOUND: old-fashioned hospitality
Eulalie, Little Ruby's, Wano, Wegmans, J. Mueser, menswear Nines, MORE
RESTAURANTS • First Person
Eulalie upturns her violet eye on Tribeca
“You’re due at X in 30 minutes.” For most restaurants these days, an automated text from a reservation app is the first point of communication with your hosts. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Last month, I stumbled upon the charming (daresay, retro) restaurant blog from the proprietors of Tribeca’s forthcoming Eulalie. I searched the website for a reservations link. Nothing. Just a phone number, at the bottom of the page. I called it, and voicemail picked up: “You’ve found us,” it began. I left a message.
A couple of hours later, my phone rang. “Apologies for the noise in the background,” I said, “that’s my two-year-old daughter in the tub.” “Apologies for the noise in my background,” the woman on the other end of the line replied without missing a beat. “That’s my husband in the kitchen!” After a little more back-and-forth, our table at Eulalie was booked for the following week. I had just been charmed, for the first time, by Tina Vaughn.
Vaughn, with husband Chip Smith, ran Upper East Side restaurant The Simone for nearly a decade, until they lost the lease last year. Now, they’re opening in the old Bâtard space on West Broadway next door to Frenchette, continuing the style of extremely personal service that won them ardent fans uptown. She’s the front of the house, he’s the back, filtering French cooking through his own lens. The entire experience is something deeply personal, down to the handwritten menus and repeated visits by Tina to our properly white-tablecloth-clad table to check on our progress throughout the four-course dinner.
Across the dining room, we spotted old friends who live on the Upper East Side, and followed Tina and Chip south to their new home, as many regulars from The Simone surely will. (On this night, we were, as Tina told us upon arrival, “our new people.”) The meal stretched three hours; we savored all of it, especially a “middle treat” of fish quenelle with caviar, materializing between appetizers and mains.
On our way out the door just before 10p, a hello from Chip, out from the kitchen, and a warm farewell from Tina, with our thanks for a very generous evening. If all of this sounds like something you might like to experience, Eulalie’s phone number can be found below. And should you go, as a final treat, they won’t follow up with an email survey about your experience — as it once was, and maybe should always be. –Lockhart Steele
→ Eulalie (Tribeca), 239 West Broadway • Dinner prix fixe $115, wine pairings $85 • Call to reserve: 646-476-2380.
This fall, more of FOUND’s recommendations and intel will be behind the paywall. Join us!
RESTAURANTS • Intel
→ FACTORY RESET: Japan-based hospitality group Tokyo Restaurants Factory has quietly recast Mifune, its Michelin-starred spot on E. 44th St., as Wano (above). The fine-dining restaurant will serve omakase sushi and kaiseki tasting menus ($200 each) designed by Hiroyuki Sato, one of Tokyo’s most acclaimed sushi masters.
→ WEST VILLAGE RIVIERA: Following up on a June plywood report, Little Ruby’s Cafe opened its newest branch yesterday in the old Riviera Cafe space on 7th Ave. and W. 4th St. As with its sister restaurants, the spot features an all-day, Aussie-influenced menu. New to this location: a full bar program.
NYC RESTAURANT LINKS: Cipriani seeks to raise $500 million for global expansion push • Blue Ribbon latest to sign on for Penn Station revival at PENN 1 • Greg Baxtrom’s Prospect Heights bistro Petite Patate has closed • Inside the retrospective cocktail list for Eleven Madison Park’s 25th birthday • Why maximalist drinking is here and everywhere • What even is ‘fine wine’ anymore?
GOODS & SERVICES • The Nines
Fall shopping, menswear
C’H’C’M (Noho, above), smart consensus says it’s NYC’s best
Blue in Green (Soho), extensive Japanese and American denim
Officine Generale (Soho), chic French prep standby, office suitable
J. Mueser (Greenwich Village), bespoke suits in a tiny shop (see below)
The Armory (Tribeca), Hong Kong import offering impeccable bespoke suiting
Bergdorf Goodman Men’s Store (Midtown), for suits, of course
Ralph Lauren 867 Madison (Upper East Side), the flagship mansion
Sid Mashburn (Upper East Side), Southern take on men’s style
Leffot (Greenwich Village), for shoes
GOODS & SERVICES • Menswear
Go bespoke for the holidays
Checking the calendar this morning, it seems we’re about two months out from peak December holiday party crush. A query, then: might you treat yourself to a wardrobe upgrade in advance of all the merrymaking? Yes is a good answer, and a good place to answer it is J. Mueser, the tiny (yet somehow capacious?) menswear store on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village that debuted in 2008.
A bespoke sport coat is an excellent move here, starting with books of gorgeous fabrics that one of the friendly team members will walk you through, and ending with turnaround time for delivery quoted at a mere five weeks. A custom coral blazer I ordered in June was indeed ready for pickup in July. At $1,550 all-in, it'll do double-duty between summer cocktails and holiday parties. They’ll size you up as a walk-in, but why not make an appointment. –Lockhart Steele
→ J. Mueser (Greenwich Village), 19 Christopher St., also carrying ready-to-wear jackets and accessories.
GOODS & SERVICES LINKS: Times Square post-pandemic openings outstrip closings • Boll and Branch’s new furniture launch is the stuff of cozy, coastal dreams • Men’s luxe retailer Paris Laundry opens in Tribeca • The best NYC coffee shops for working remotely • Inside NYC’s first tailoring shop for grooms.
WORK • Tuesday Routine
‘Talking and typing,’ and then the curtain
ALEX LEVY, CEO, A.H. Levy & Co.
Neighborhood you work in: West Village
It’s Tuesday morning, where are you working?
I start my mornings at Mah Ze Dahr bakery in the West Village at 7:30 a.m. I sit at one of their three tables, hunched over my laptop — in noise canceling headphones and an athleisure shmatte — and fire off morning emails for an hour, sometimes two. It’s the most productive part of my day. After that, I head to my office on West 9th Street, which is all of two blocks from my apartment on East 9th. Occasionally I work out of a client’s office — I’m usually at The New York Times once a week, which is more than some of their full-time employees.
What’s on the agenda for today?
Friends ask me all the time, sometimes in a conspiratorial whisper, “What exactly do you do?” My friend Ross Bleckner, the artist, says I spend my days “talking and typing.” That’s pretty much right. As a speechwriter, my schedule is chock-full of client Zooms, Suggestion Mode edits in Google Docs, and occasional in-person meetings.
What’s for lunch?
My side hustle is producing Broadway shows, and I’m having lunch today with a veteran producer to trade notes on upcoming projects. We’re meeting at the Century Association on West 43rd (above), which I joined a few years ago. I love it there. The food is surprisingly good — best quiche in the city — and I always see someone I know (or want to know).
Any plans tonight?
I rarely leave the Village, unless it’s for a client or a curtain. Tonight I’m headed to the Brooklyn Museum for StoryCorps’ 20th anniversary gala, where they’re honoring my client (and friend!) Alberto Ibarguen, CEO of Knight Foundation. I’ll go to sleep early though, as tomorrow is a big day: the opening, at long last, of Wegmans on Astor Place. For native Buffalonians like myself, Wegmans is a religion, and I plan to be among the first to pass through its doors.
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WORK • Neighborhood Report
On Astor Place, bracing for the Wegmans era
Friday afternoon, after lunch with old friends at Il Buco Alimentari on Great Jones, we took a constitutional up the Bowery. It’s a familiar stretch — Curbed was headquartered at 36 Cooper Square, the iconic Village Voice building, in the late aughts and early ’10s.
When we reached Astor Place, we set our gazes upon the neighborhood’s next era, which will officially begin Wednesday morning, when Wegmans opens the doors to its first Manhattan store at 770 Broadway.