Michelin-starred Chef Daniel Boulud officially opened the doors to Le Pavillon at One Vanderbilt Avenue in New York City. Located at the corner of Vanderbilt Avenue and East 42nd Street, Le Pavillon sits directly across from Grand Central Terminal in Midtown’s tallest tower and is the most dynamic restaurant opening in New York City in more than a year.
“I can’t think of a more fitting moment to open Le Pavillon,” said Chef Daniel Boulud. “Despite the many, many challenges that we have faced in the last year our commitment to creating this dining destination never wavered and, in fact, we are more certain than ever that this celebration of cuisine, nature and architecture is exactly what New Yorkers need right now. It is my sincere hope that this is an opportunity to celebrate New York City for all of us.”
“Le Pavillon is not only the most special and unique dining experience, it is now a symbol of New York City’s recovery,” said Marc Holliday, Chairman and CEO of SL Green. “We have always felt a deep responsibility to create a restaurant worthy of this iconic location – overlooking Grand Central and within the now world-renowned One Vanderbilt. Given the year we’ve all had, we are truly honored to have had the opportunity to partner with Chef Daniel to create something extraordinary that can give the entire city hope and energy.”
The 11,000-square-foot dining oasis features a winding garden path, seamlessly blending nature and architecture in the heart of Midtown. Surrounded by nature, Chef Boulud has created a culinary retreat for New Yorkers and visitors to be reenergized with fresh, healthy, locally-sourced ingredients. The restaurant concept was inspired by the traditional pavilions found throughout France, in parks or avenues lined with beautiful gardens and trees, which are places for celebrations and gathering, and their striking similarities to the wonderful tree-lined plaza and the garden within Le Pavillon.
“New York City is driving recovery for all of us, bringing back our world-class restaurants, lifting up our sensational chefs, and supporting everyone involved in the dining industry,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Today’s announcement is about sending one message, loud and clear: Bon Appetit, New Yorkers!”
“This is a huge vote of confidence for our city at a time when we’re emerging from one of our most difficult periods in history. I thank Chef Daniel Boulud for helping to further cement our status as one of the world’s premier dining destinations. Anyone who doubts New York City’s ability to comeback from the pandemic should look at the creativity and resilience on display here today,” said Council Speaker Corey Johnson.
“When a new restaurant opens for the first time, it’s always a vote of confidence in the strength of our city,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “When a new restaurant opens at a time like this, it’s a landslide vote of confidence! I look forward to all the other openings to come.”
“It is wonderful to be able to celebrate grand openings and new beginnings as New York starts to bounce back. I commend Chef Boulud and SL Green for embarking on this new venture at One Vanderbilt,” said Council Member Keith Powers.
“Daniel Boulud has long been one of the world’s best chefs. His recommitment to New York at this time is just what our city needs,” said Tim Zagat, Co-Founder, ZAGAT.
“We are so pleased to see Chef Daniel Boulud open Le Pavillon during this crucial time, as New York City reawakens and visitors begin to return,” said Fred Dixon, President and CEO at NYC & Company. “We are confident that this exciting project will further underscore the City’s position as the dining capital of the world, and contribute to the vibrant lineup of new experiences that will attract visitors this year.”
The partnership between SL Green and Chef Boulud goes far beyond the creation of Le Pavillon. Together the team founded Food1st, a non-profit foundation started in April 2020, to alleviate the on-going food shortage in New York City that was amplified throughout the pandemic. Food1st’s mission is to help feed New Yorkers and emergency service workers who have limited access to food by partnering with food service providers in a way that also helps revitalize the New York City food service industry at a time when its workers need it the most. In celebration of the opening and the recent one year anniversary of Food1st, SL Green today announced an additional $250,000 donation to the foundation. With this investment, Food1st has raised nearly $5 million and served more than 600,000 free meals to date.
“I am beyond excited to see this restaurant coming to life. It is the start of a new chapter in the Dinex Group and we are looking forward to welcoming our many loyal New York City guests once again,” said Sebastien Silvestri, CEO of Dinex Group. “We are very proud to be partners with SL Green in this new project at One Vanderbilt, which has such a significant place on the New York City skyline.”
With interior design led by Isay Weinfeld alongside architecture firm KPF, Le Pavillon captures the spirit of a New York skyscraper living in harmony with nature. The interiors feature lush greenery, live trees and foliage woven throughout the dining room. The spacious dining room can accommodate up to 120 guests and includes a mix of low and soaring ceiling heights, and a 46-seat bar area. Suspended above the bar, American artist Andy Paiko created a custom, hand blown glass chandelier, highlighting breathtaking views of Grand Central Terminal and the Chrysler building.
“I believe we succeeded in making Le Pavillon warm and cosy within the impressive scale of the venue. The solution came with bringing in lush greenery, which makes for a soothing and peaceful ambience, an oasis amidst the hustle-bustle of the city,” said Isay Weinfeld, architect. “Working for a client that masters his métier so well makes everything easier and always feels especially rewarding.”
“One Vanderbilt is defined at street level by its dramatic podium, with a large angled cut that opens up visually to the east, gesturing directly toward Grand Central,” said James von Klemperer, KPF President and Design Principal. “Located on the upper floor of this soaring space, Daniel Boulud’s restaurant Le Pavillon will offer diners views of some of New York City’s most memorable pieces of architecture, including the spire of the Chrysler building.”
Culinary and Service Team
Chef Daniel will bring together a culinary team promoting three professionals cultivated at his flagship DANIEL and elsewhere within the Dinex Group. Chef Boulud has promoted Jean François Bruel, longtime executive chef to Chef Boulud, to Corporate Chef of both DANIEL and Le Pavillon. Chefs Michael Balboni, and Will Nacev, are Co-Executive Chef of Le Pavillon. Sébastien Rouxel, is the Corporate Pastry Chef, and Nancy Schumann is the Director of Restaurants at One Vanderbilt.
The restaurant will eventually serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and include a dramatic bar area overlooking the new Vanderbilt Plaza. The seasonally-inspired menu will rotate based on the bounty of the market and highlight many local vegetables and New England seafood in its dishes, an extension from Chef Daniel’s other restaurants which celebrate New York with a more contemporary French-American spirit.
In addition, several unique offerings will be available to guests of Le Pavillon, including a Garden Table in the middle of the restaurant that will feature special food and wine experiences, including guest chefs, winemakers and tasting menus.
Dinex Group’s Wine Director, Daniel Johnnes, together with Le Pavillon Head Sommelier Blake Bernal, Raj Vaidya and Edouard Bourgeois, has assembled a list of about 650 selections geared toward the seasonal vegetable and seafood menu created by Chef Daniel. The selection features deep verticals from the classic regions of France, United States and beyond with sought after producers and an eye towards value. Additionally, there is a broad selection of wines by the glass with some real discoveries mixed in with the classics.
“I could not be more happy and energized to be part of the team leading the charge out of an incredibly difficult and dark year with this exciting restaurant project,” said Daniel Johnnes. “My team and I are bursting with desire to get back to what we do best – hospitality. But hospitality with focus on creating an inspiring and revelatory wine experience for our guests. We know wine can take the gourmet/gourmand on a journey they may not have been expecting when they entered the restaurant.”
Samy Berdai, Head Bartender, has designed a robust cocktail program featuring all the classic libations of New York, with a curated list of house cocktails designed to change seasonally.