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Here's hoping we get more of Liebrandt's genius soon!

It's public knowledge that Leibrandt and Lee replaced each other, Lee permanently, Leibrandt maybe not.... but that is the deal.

Not planned that way, just a twist of fate.

Strange though because i dont see Leibrandts cooking philosophy in a Starr restaurant.

I like Starr but he isnt interested in that kind of precision food.

Strange bedfellows indeed.

Vadouvan, are saying that Liebrandt is going to work for Starr? That is not the impression I got from him last week, although I suppose it remains a possibility.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Vadouvan,

Thanks for the update. My head is spinning...I can't even IMAGINE Liebrandt working for the mini-chain empire that Starr has created. Here in NY or at Lee's old roost (SB) in Philly? Would never have guessed it. I'll be curious to hear reports. And if someone will offer me an over/under on how long he stays there, I'll take it, even though I'm not by nature a betting man.

Lateralus,

Thanks for the update. Please post the location/name of the new forum here for those of us eager and curious about future plans for Paul and co.

For the record, I am one of the people who did visit the restaurant before it closed, and I have to say that the meal I had (which consisted of side by side complementary tasting menus for me and my date) was one of the most special and memorable I've ever had in my life...and I've had a lot! The marriage of creativity and deliciousness was really special, and put the place in a league of its own. It was like Wylie-type creativity done at a more ambitious and elegant level.

LPS

I had two meals in the first 3 months of Gilt and they were well done, though we got some extra attention, I would have to say the first one was among the top 5 meals I have had in the USA, and certainly not the most expensive, though the Perse experience was a bit less solicitous and more luxurious, Leib's cooking certainly was more creative.

Certainly you could trace the inspiration in many ways back to Gagnaire-Balzac / Sketch but still it was pulled off sucessfully. The only thing I wonder about it the general lukewarm nature (temp wise) of sous-vide seafood, otherwise excellent.

Here's hoping we get more of Liebrandt's genius soon!

It's public knowledge that Leibrandt and Lee replaced each other, Lee permanently, Leibrandt maybe not.... but that is the deal.

Not planned that way, just a twist of fate.

Strange though because i dont see Leibrandts cooking philosophy in a Starr restaurant.

I like Starr but he isnt interested in that kind of precision food.

Strange bedfellows indeed.

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I'll be curious to hear reports.

Had dinner with Phila-A-Dining last night, he is polishing his lenses as we speak.

Dont worry, he is all over it.

By the way this was first hand info from a Bass employee I am aquainted with and is supposedly a temporary job till a long term chef is found.

Either way....its an interesting Wife swap.

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Liebrandt had lunch at the bar at Amada a couple of weeks ago with some other Philly foodies I know. I served their group and he picked up the check. He was in town to do a tasting for Mr. Starr I'm told, so I'm not surprised the deal went down, so to speak.

Even if it's only temporary, it really is an interesting switcheroo, isn't it?

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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My understanding is that he will be consulting for Stephen Starr who is still looking for an Exec Chef.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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  • 2 weeks later...

Saturday night I went to the bar at Gilt. I'd never been to the space in any of its previous incarnations and was unaware of the murals and ornament of the room but I was impressed to see it mesh with the purple glacial shell that served as a backdrop to the bar. It reminded me of the Madama Butterfly production now at the Met, a classic space with just the smallest modern cinematic touch on stage that can transform the whole room. It works here yet I couldn't imagine that going up in the King Cole Bar a couple blocks away.

The food. The soups and salads changed from the online fall bar menu and that was a letdown but what my girlfriend and I ordered was plenty. To start, the roasted gnocchi with parmesan poached egg. About eight pieces surrounding the egg, with split pieces of haricots verts between the gnocchi. The gnocchi broke as easily as the yolk flooding the plate with a warm well-seasoned custard. At $12 it's the bargain of the menu too. Next came the slider sampler ($24) and the truffled fries with bacon dip ($11.) The fries are a generous portion even for two people and resemble closest the fries at DB. It's immediately clear to taste that they're cooked in fat and the bacon dip has small pieces of bacon in what tasted like a bacon flavored sour cream. I'm sure I don't know anywhere else that charges that much for french fries and I'm sure I've had better ones but these were very good and a great side to the slider sampler which justified its price while remaining light. The heaviest of the sliders is the Wagyu cheeseburger with pickled onions. It melts in your mouth, like all the sliders it's on a buttery roll and the flavors of the three ingredients were all well balanced. Size-wise, it's half a Shack burger. The braised pork slider is shredded pork topped with avacado and pineapple. The pineapple absolutely gave it a certain kick that also lightened the dish. And the lobster club was fine but we ate that last and there was nothing special about it - cucumber and crispy shallots if they were in there went unnoticed - and so while fine the lack of any special touch made it a letdown.

For dessert we shared the fall fruit plate with ginger beer ice cream and ginger snaps. I'm never one to order fruit for dessert and a black forest mousse sounded amazing, but this was such a refreshing and contrasting dish, the fruit custardy and the ice cream effervescent that we left very satisfied.

As for service, excellent. Every employee who passed through the bar must have waited on us or checked on us at one point. When asked if we wanted more drinks, the waitress returned immediately with two that the bartender was making for someone else. At $160 with tax and tip for four plates and four drinks I'm sure it was cheaper but also less food than the main dining room but I'd like to think we left just as satisfied.

I don't know if it was empty just because it's in midtown east or in a hotel or if they only do so many seatings - we were there from just past 830 til just past 10 - but no one else on a Saturday night was seated in that time which seemed a shame. Shortly afterward what really surprised us was going to Nobu 57 which always looks so staid outside that you'd think it's closed and discovering a rather wild alternative to Next Door Nobu, old men, escorts, europeans, young tourists and bridge and tunnel all very much enjoying themselves and absolutely packed to the rafters. I just wonder if that's a charm of Nobu restaurants as it's also rather hidden on a deserted block that doesn't get much night traffic.

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Saturday night I went to the bar at Gilt. I'd never been to the space in any of its previous incarnations and was unaware of the murals and ornament of the room but I was impressed to see it mesh with the purple glacial shell that served as a backdrop to the bar. It reminded me of the Madama Butterfly production now at the Met, a classic space with just the smallest modern cinematic touch on stage that can transform the whole room. It works here yet I couldn't imagine that going up in the King Cole Bar a couple blocks away.

The food. The soups and salads changed from the online fall bar menu and that was a letdown but what my girlfriend and I ordered was plenty. To start, the roasted gnocchi with parmesan poached egg. About eight pieces surrounding the egg, with split pieces of haricots verts between the gnocchi. The gnocchi broke as easily as the yolk flooding the plate with a warm well-seasoned custard. At $12 it's the bargain of the menu too. Next came the slider sampler ($24) and the truffled fries with bacon dip ($11.) The fries are a generous portion even for two people and resemble closest the fries at DB. It's immediately clear to taste that they're cooked in fat and the bacon dip has small pieces of bacon in what tasted like a bacon flavored sour cream. I'm sure I don't know anywhere else that charges that much for french fries and I'm sure I've had better ones but these were very good and a great side to the slider sampler which justified its price while remaining light. The heaviest of the sliders is the Wagyu cheeseburger with pickled onions. It melts in your mouth, like all the sliders it's on a buttery roll and the flavors of the three ingredients were all well balanced. Size-wise, it's half a Shack burger. The braised pork slider is shredded pork topped with avacado and pineapple. The pineapple absolutely gave it a certain kick that also lightened the dish. And the lobster club was fine but we ate that last and there was nothing special about it - cucumber and crispy shallots if they were in there went unnoticed - and so while fine the lack of any special touch made it a letdown.

For dessert we shared the fall fruit plate with ginger beer ice cream and ginger snaps. I'm never one to order fruit for dessert and a black forest mousse sounded amazing, but this was such a refreshing and contrasting dish, the fruit custardy and the ice cream effervescent that we left very satisfied.

As for service, excellent. Every employee who passed through the bar must have waited on us or checked on us at one point. When asked if we wanted more drinks, the waitress returned immediately with two that the bartender was making for someone else. At $160 with tax and tip for four plates and four drinks I'm sure it was cheaper but also less food than the main dining room but I'd like to think we left just as satisfied.

I don't know if it was empty just because it's in midtown east or in a hotel or if they only do so many seatings - we were there from just past 830 til just past 10 - but no one else on a Saturday night was seated in that time which seemed a shame. Shortly afterward what really surprised us was going to Nobu 57 which always looks so staid outside that you'd think it's closed and discovering a rather wild alternative to Next Door Nobu, old men, escorts, europeans, young tourists and bridge and tunnel all very much enjoying themselves and absolutely packed to the rafters. I just wonder if that's a charm of Nobu restaurants as it's also rather hidden on a deserted block that doesn't get much night traffic.

Wow, that read like a press release!

I don't think anyone is going to hang their shingle up there at the moment and have the floodgates open.

I think from what I've read Liebrandt was doing pretty decently until that NYTimes double whammy.

Still a shame...

Nobu really has such a great vibe, word of mouth, and great food(IMO)

Perhaps people still associate the Helmsley with the "Grand Dame"???

2317/5000

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Wow. I read that over and it does sound like a press release. At least in two places. I think reading the bad releases on Eater has infected my writing style. It was a good meal, I'd waited a year too long to eat there and I have a thing for bar rooms. I think the big shock for me was that the scene was at Nobu57 which I read nothing about ever and not at Gilt which I hear about or maybe just read about here all the time. Ugh. I still read like a release.

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Yesterday on Bloomberg.com, Ryan Sutton reviewed the new Gilt, with chef Christopher Lee. Inside, it still looks like the old Gilt, but the prix fixe has gone down from $92 to $78 (there is also a pre-theatre menu at $44). Sutton says this may seem like a bargain, but you can still get "fleeced" with $12 bottles of water, and he's not in love with the food:

But if Liebrandt's cuisine was hyperactive, Lee's is hyper- restrained. Braised pork belly could have overwhelmed a soup of Jerusalem artichokes with a piggy punch, yet the meat barely registered above the creamy broth and sweet shards of apple.

Langoustines exhibited no brininess; instead, they were roasted in butter and covered with gossamer slices of lomo. Close your eyes, and the air-cured swine could pass for rice paper.

.....

I prefer Lee's gutsier bar fare, like his supremely beefy Wagyu slider, black-truffle French fries and roasted potato gnocchi; the dumplings surround a runny poached egg.

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The British-born Liebrandt was famous for amazing (or annoying) diners with scientific preparations such as crispy ribbons made out of beet extract and confusing them with amuse upon amuse, turning three-course meals into three-hour affairs.

The above from Sutton's article basically outlines why I'm still bitter about seeing the old Gilt go.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...
has anyone been there recently and does anyone care about this restaurant

Well, somebody must be going, but in the so-called "foodie" community, Gilt seems to be practically invisible.

Having said that, the dining population is more than just the people who post to Internet message boards.

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On today's Two for Eight, Grub Street checked out ten "romantic" restaurants, and Gilt was the only one without tables available. (Another didn't answer the phone.)

I realize it might not be typical (e.g., a party), but it suggests they're not suffering, even if a community like ours no longer cares about the place.

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  • 7 months later...
has anyone been lately? I was so disappointed about this, because I had one of the most exciting meals of my life at Gilt before the chef change.

With Urena gone (thankfully WD-50 is still here), what are some of your recommendations for more adventurous food?

Gilt now, though still of decent quality, is NOTHING like it was before the chef (Paul Liebrandt) left. The replacement chef Chris Lee (formerly of Striped Bass in Philly) is good, but not exactly groundbreaking. If you're in search of innovative food, don't bother going there anymore. The good news is that there's a very strong rumor that Paul will return to NYC quite soon in the old Montrachet space in Tribeca, in partnership with Drew Nieporent's group (who own Nobu, Tribeca Grill, Mai House, Centrico, etc.). Expect good things if that venture does come about.

In the meantime, there's a surprising lack of truly innovative food in NYC, aside from Wylie's great work at WD-50. And while Alex Urena will still be in his old space, you can expect the new venture (a Basque cafe) to be much less adventurous than the old.

Some places with good food that has at least a little innovation (though certainly nothing on the old Gilt's level) would be P*ong and Public. But they're certainly not in the "molecular gastronomy" realm. Time to plan that trip to Chicago...

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don't forget Tailor!

Docsconz makes a good point. Forgot that Tailor finally opened. Definitely in that category. As for Public, they're very streaky...good days and bad. More fun is their semi-hidden Monday Room. If you want to give it a second shot, go there.

And once you've tried Tailor, it's off to Chicago with you, which has at least 4 really good options.

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A friend and I had the tasting menu at Gilt a few weeks ago (report here). I took Chris Lee's cuisine to be the kind of extremely sedate, competent, but unchallenging fare that the clientele in that location demanded. It was very well done for what it was, but it was the absolute antithesis of a "foodie adventure."

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