First Look: Villard Michel Richard at the NY Palace
Recently, chef Michel Richard unveiled Pomme Palais, his new bakery and cafe in the lobby of the Palace Hotel, and now Villard Michel Richard, his much-anticipated fine dining establishment, is open upstairs. The restaurant encompasses three separate rooms - the main dining room, which will serve an à la carte French bistro menu, a swanky bar and lounge area, and a smaller, more intimate dining room called "The Gallery," which will serve a prix fixe menu.
Like Gilt, which formerly occupied the space, Villard Michel Richard uses the baroque design of the Palace as a backdrop for more modern, stylized details, like the large glass wine cellar in the center of the main dining room that was literally built around one of the Palace's historic chandeliers, or the oversized, neon-lit black-and-white portraits of movie stars like Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly that line the walls of The Gallery. There's also a constantly changing holographic montage of photographs of Richard himself and restaurant namesake Henry Villard - the nineteenth-century financier whose home became the New York Palace - above the bar. Look once, and you see dozens of photos of Michel Richard; look back, and it's Henry Villard. (Which we imagine will be quite freaky to stare at after you've had one too many glasses of aged whiskey.)
The prix fixe menu for The Gallery isn't finalized yet, but the main dining room will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner starting today, and will be serving up classic French fare with playful American touches, like tuna and watermelon tartare, crab cakes with leeks and a lobster burger - at price points you'd expect from a hotel with gilded ceilings.
455 Madison Ave., 212-891-8100