FOUND: open tables
Le Rock, Bar Miller, Le Veau d’Or, Ramp, Burritos La Palma, NYCWFF, MORE
RESTAURANTS • First Person
Le Rock, whenever you fancy
From a two-top in the corner of Le Rock on a recent Wednesday evening, I admired the thrum of a NYC restaurant in peak form. It was late September, the room was packed, alive — the city back at full throttle for fall. I also took the moment to appreciate how I got there: by the grace of a 7p reservation, procured two days earlier, simply by clicking on an available time slot.
For those among us who sometimes feel out of it when it comes to accessing what’s new and cool in New York — new parents, those launching new ventures, the Skadden partner I was dining with — an NYC hack: instead of banging your head against the wall attempting to book this fall’s hot new restaurants, set your sights on last fall’s hot new restaurants, most of which are better after a year of seasoning, anyway.
Take Le Rock. Last September, landing a primetime table at the hot Rock Center newcomer (from the team behind Tribeca’s Frenchette) took serious advance planning, or a well-timed text to a connection. One friend enlisted me to help him set up a birthday dinner there, a feat we managed to pull off, not without expensing some dignity. Fortunately, the meal was worth it.
And it still is. Back at Le Rock for my first visit since January, we couldn’t resist dishes that have quickly become classics: leeks vinaigrette, escargots, bison au poivre, duck aux epices. (A friend who’s a Le Rock regular recommends the more recently debuted sweetbreads starter with crawfish etouffee, and for a main course, the tuna with jamon.)
Roughly one year in, it’s finally time to acknowledge that the somewhat-derided remake of Rockefeller Center by developer Tishman Speyer has shown haters the door: it totally worked. The five hot-last-year restaurants at Rock Center are still worth your time (clip and save The Nines at the end of this email). And for those who think the subterranean locations just don’t work for Jupiter, Naro, et al.: agree to disagree. One of the nicest meals I had last winter was a late lunch in Jupiter’s dining room, gazing out on folks skating eye-level with me on the Rockefeller Center rink.
I’m overdue to return. –Lockhart Steele
This fall, more of FOUND’s good stuff (from us and our growing community of hyper-informed subscribers) will be behind the paywall. Join us.
RESTAURANTS • Intel
→ THE GOLDEN CALF: While Frenchette and Le Rock turn, proprietors Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson are putting finishing touches on the soon-to-be-reborn Le Veau d’Or on E. 60th St. on the Upper East Side. First opened in 1937 and boasting its own Wikipedia page, the bistro passed into Hanson and Nasr’s hands in 2019; they closed it for renovation pre-pandemic. A FOUND spy tells us the renovation is nearly complete, much of the original vibe intact, with a new menu of refreshed French classics. A December opening, you say? Golden.
→ MILLER TIMES: Lots of October reservations are available on Tock for Bar Miller, the tiny new sister to FOUND-reader-favorite Rosella. The 8-seat counter serves a 15-course, $250 omakase at two nightly seatings, 6p and 830p (Wed.-Sun.).
NYC RESTAURANT LINKS: Why has La Grenouille been closed for the past three months? • Admiring the beautiful high chairs at Gus’s Chop House • Sotheby’s lists most valuable wine collection ever to come to market • Tatiana’s Kwame Onwuachi’s cuisine of the self • On the ritual of solo dining.
WORK • FOUND Startup
Ramp: so hot right now
The sexiness scale for fintech and back-office software companies is binary, and few make it from 0 to 1. NYC-based Ramp seems to be tipping, turning into the kind of B2B company that gets airtime at cocktail parties.
Last week, the four-year-old startup, which provides corporate credit cards and financial management tools for corporations, claimed first place on LinkedIn’s new 50 top startups in the U.S. Fun list, maybe a little arbitrary. (Ramp didn’t rate on Crain’s 100 best places to work in NYC, also released last week). For more substantive proof, check the lease ledgers: the company just inked a deal to sublet 66K SF from Microsoft at 28-40 W. 23rd St. That’s more than double its current space at 71 Fifth Ave.
And in August, Ramp added $300M in equity funding at a valuation of $5.8B. It was a down round, but a big deal in a down market. All told, the company has raised almost $1B. It’s also an emerging player in the finance hiring game, poaching from big Wall Street firms, especially Goldman Sachs, once the ultimate cocktail party flex.
→ Ramp (Union Square; Flatiron in Q2 ’24) • Fintech • Founders: Eric Glyman, Karim Atiyeh, and Gene Lee.
WORK LINKS: Reviews for Refinery at Domino: ‘A lucid loaf of an office building rising out of its flaking crust’ and ‘a master class in adaptive reuse’ • Wells Fargo to buy Neiman Marcus space at Hudson Yards for $550 Million • Peloton’s last remaining cofounder is leaving • Is North Brooklyn the future of New York City?
GOODS & SERVICES • FOUND Larder
LA’s best burritos, wrapped and shipped
We can’t be the only ones scouring Ruth Reichl’sfor recommendations, like her recent rave for the cooking of the new chef at The Maker in Hudson (“one final touch: the snap of purslane”). But it was sometime back in the spring when she tipped us off to the excellence of the Goldbelly offering from Burritos La Palma.
For the uninitiated, the Los Angeles-based Mexican restaurant has been a favorite of everyone’s since forever, and their Goldbelly menu is lovely in its simplicity: three styles of burritos (beans and rice, beef birria, and “especial con todo”), mix-and-matchable into 8 and 12 packs. As you order, you’ll be asked if you’d like to add 10 flour tortillas (+$12) to your order. Do this. Our freezer is lately never without.
→ Shop: Burritos La Palma 12-pack, Goldbelly • $119.95+, depending on config.
GOODS & SERVICES LINKS: Famed grocer Sahadi’s to join Pier 57 food hall • Target closes East Harlem store, blames shoplifting • Outside of luxury surge, story of retail resurgence is a mixed bag • Restaurant boom brings streets back to life in Midtown • A love letter to Zabar’s.
WORK • Tuesday Routine
Crunch time for an October-fest
It’s Tuesday morning, where are you working?
When in NYC, I am working out of our offices in United Nations Plaza. I have several teams across the country, and they are all back to a 4/1 work week. My Tuesday schedule is always heavy check-in call days, including one for FoodieCon, which is making its NYCWFF debut this year. To get things started, I always order breakfast from Essa Bagel — an everything bagel (not toasted) with chicken salad.
What’s on the agenda for today?
It’s crunch time for NYCWFF (Oct. 12-15), but after 16 years and 41 festivals collectively, I take the issues one fire at a time. I also happen to be trying to plan my partner's birthday that happens over NYCWFF every year. I'm currently seeing which of our dinners have enough tickets for me to buy for our friends. Lastly, I'm getting a flu shot at the end of day, and have a pickleball lesson at 6 p.m. at City Pickle.
What’s for lunch?
I try not to schedule lunches, as we eat dinner out almost nightly, but I do have a lunch appointment today at Balthazar with a friend's daughter who recently graduated from college.
Any plans tonight?
I love Via Carota for dinner — it's our go-to spot at least once a week. I’m also a huge fan of Red Farm on the Upper West Side. I never hesitate to go there, even solo.
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A few FOUND subscriber PROMPTS, one new, two for which we are still seeking intel:
Do you know of restaurants in NYC that serve a memorable Thanksgiving meal?
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RESTAURANTS • The Nines
Hot last fall, Manhattan
Nine debuts from ‘22 where you can now book a table for 100% less than the price of your dignity.