Bubbles & Roe
A Midtown mecca for over 25 years, Caviar Russe adds a moody new lounge to its Madison Avenue digs
There was a time when restaurants tried to cater to all tastes, with everything from steaks and chops to pasta and seafood on the same menu. That formula worked fine until diners realized most kitchens weren’t capable of turning out an authentic bucatini all’Amatriciana and a proper cassoulet with equal authority. And once we grew more appreciative of cuisines from around the world, we weren’t about to go just anywhere for pad thai.
Tables set with Bernardaud porcelain and Christofle flatware beneath colorful murals make for a fanciful and fancy ambience in the main dining room.
Of course, there have always been restaurants that stuck to what they did best and kept to a tight menu. Back in the 1970s, French chef Jacques Pépin opened a lunch spot on New York’s Fifth Avenue that offered soup, soup, soup. La Potagerie, as it was called, was tailored to expense-account-deprived office workers with limited time for a midday meal. Think food truck minus a gas tank.
Just blocks away from Pépin’s long-gone La Potagerie (and a world away from a ladle) CAVIAR RUSSE occupies an exalted position in the universe of specialty restaurants. While no new kid on the block—it has had a home at 838 Madison Avenue since 1997—this Michelin-starred destination is keeping up with the times, expanding its operation with a new street-level raw bar and cocktail lounge. “We were looking to create a more approachable space but with the same level of service and fine dining one experiences upstairs,” says Edgar Panchernikov, head of operations.
A beautiful blue banquette and mirrored wall in the new raw-bar lounge.
A staircase with Cambria’s inky, white-veined Mersey design artfully guides visitors between lower and upper levels.