Majorelle

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Ahhh, at last a restaurant has arrived on the upper east side that is so quiet you can actually understand your table mates without resorting to reading lips. Majorelle, in the Lowell Hotel at 28 East 63rd Street, is Charles Masson’s latest endeavor. It’s a prix fixe menu, which means go light on lunch if you plan to dine there, because you’ll want to have every one of the courses that follows the amuse bouche. I had the salad “Majorelle,” made of “sucrine” leaves, basil, mint and chopped cucumber with a sharp yogurt dressing. The lightly grilled oysters on endive leaves were a great hit for others at our table. The lamb tagine, an unusual dish for such an upscale restaurant, while nicely presented in individual tagines, was less of a success than the other dishes we had. Yet the finale, an individual soufflé with vanilla sauce served on the side, was irresistible, in all flavors, chocolate, grand marnier or pistachio. My preference was the grand marnier, and as always, the petit fours following dessert sated any appetite you might have had left. The service was very attentive, commensurate with cost, and the room, beautifully appointed and decorated; the trademark spectacular flowers is a treat for the eyes. But the most amazing thing was the quiet, given that there is a great deal of marble and highly polished wood. Even though it’s considerably smaller, I predict this will replace Le Cirque, on the short list of best restaurants in New York.

Diahn McGrath

 

Previous post on 04/24/17 by Scott Corzine

For those of us who grew fond of Charles Masson’s welcoming home at Le Grenouille over the years, and who were less than pleased when family trauma caused him to exit the restaurant, life serves us up a helping of poetic justice! Charles’ new Majorelle, occupying gutted and re-designed space where the old Post House used to be in the Lowell Hotel (63rd and Madison), was terrific. The space is sophisticated, but unpretentious, named after the French painter of the same last name. The vibe is softly energetic. And the food is a lovely balance of Moroccan and classic French cuisine. My Moroccan Carrot Salad with Oranges and Lamb Tagine was perfect! Charles is back as the most welcoming and attentive host in town… and so are those fabulous flower arrangements. Bravo, Charles!

 

Previous post on 04/24/17 by Ilona Quasha

Is it fair to judge a new restaurant after just one dinner there, on one of their first evenings after their “soft” opening? I thought that Majorelle deserved at least a second look, so we returned recently after they’ve had another month. This time we tried the library, and I also enlisted the input of a friend dining in the main room on the same evening.

The space has changed so much in this new incarnation that one can barely remember how it used to hold the Post House. They’ve created a spacious front bar area called Jacques (where they don’t serve food), and a lovely library/club room, along with the main dining room and a sliver of a “back garden” with a few tables.
The French-Mediterranean menu is enticing, and overall the food has been delicious: the black sea bass with champagne was the winner, my friends raved about the chicken carved table-side and the sucrine salad was so good that I wish it was a bigger portion. There a few misses, such as boring kibbe and a baba au rhum which the waiter erroneously talked me into, but the gougères more than compensate.

The space strikes the right balance, for me, of noise control yet energy, and it is beautiful and elegant, with sumptuous fabrics and flower arrangements. While the space is beautifully decorated by Michael Smith (of White House fame), the layout is one of Majorelle’s main drawbacks: there really aren’t any great tables — either you have a plant leaf tickling your hair, or one of the servers bumping into the back of your chair, because everything is squished together just a little too much. Thus we tried the library, which feels a bit better, if you don’t mind ordering from the limited menu and eating at coffee-table height.

As for service, they seem to have so many staff running around, yet on our first visit we waited far too long at every stage. On our recent library visit, the server was friendly but forgetful and slow, but her colleagues stepped up when requested; our friends in the main dining room said their recent service was quite good.

We’ll likely try Majorelle again, but in the bar just for quiet drinks, or in the library for (not inexpensive) snacks.

 

Previous Post on 04/24/17 by Kaaren Hale

The new restaurant, Majorelle, is stunning but manageable. The layout is varied from the light suffused garden room, to the crisp white-clothed main dining area, to the cozy club-like library bar. All has been well thought-out to promote a wonderful sense of enjoyment, ease and charm. Charles Masson is the gracious and attentive heart of the restaurant operation. It is one of the prettiest dining rooms in New York with an already glamorous and delighted following.

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