New York

First Look: Restaurant Daniel Is Even More Stunning Post-Renovation

NYC's bastion of French fine dining has unveiled a new look and menu.

Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist
Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist
Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist

It’s hard to think of a place in NYC more synonymous with “special occasion meal” than Restaurant DANIEL. The space, which chef Daniel Boulud opened in 1993, exemplifies the best in white-tablecloth dining: elegant surrounds, a staff so in tune with guests’ needs they might be mind readers, and, of course, a menu of French (and French-influenced) dishes worthy of Michelin stars.

But even DANIEL was not immune to the difficulties of the last 20 months. Like every other restaurant in the city, they too had to shutter their doors during the early weeks of the pandemic. And Boulud himself had to make the difficult decision to furlough around 800 staff members of his company at his restaurants worldwide.

Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist
Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist
Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist

Luckily, the chef is never one to stay idle long. He soon created a foundation, Hand in Hand, which helped to generate funds for his employees during the closures of his empire of restaurants. It quickly raised about three-quarters of a million dollars; 100 percent of which went to his staff.At the same time, he was constantly reinventing DANIEL. First with to-go orders in June of 2020, then-as the seasons changed-an outdoor terrace, bungalows for the winter, and the South of France-themed pop-up, Boulud Sur Mer.

Major renovations for the space were actually in the works even before COVID hit (some, like the wine cellar, were completed in 2019). Boulud and his team took advantage of the pause of this past year to redo the main dining spaces and menu. “In retrospect, it was better to not have done the dining room in 2019,” says Boulud. “Because then during COVID, we could just trash the whole place and create these theatrical elements in the room [during the pop-ups], just for the sake of doing something different-we knew at the end we wanted to change it, anyway.”

Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist
Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist
Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist

The revitalized space is still as elegant as before (Boulud worked with his same interior designer Tihany Design to refresh them), but now brighter and more modern. Wave-like wood screens offer both privacy and a bit of whimsy in the main dining room, while an ultra-modern, stainless steel arch greets guests as they walk in. The chef particularly wanted to highlight the use of wood and nature; the latter is evidenced by large-scale Alex Katz landscape paintings that line the room. And, as part of a new rotating art program in conjunction with art advisor Janis Gardner Cecil, DANIEL will also change the paintings in the spaces biannually. “I’m looking for pieces that are soothing enough for dining and showing artists that are relevant to NYC,” Boulud says.

Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist
Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist
Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist

The chef and his team took advantage of the restaurant’s closure to reimagine the menu. In addition, there is also a new team behind the burners: executive chef Eddy Leroux, who has worked at DANIEL for 17 years, and Bronx-born executive pastry chef Shaun Velez. While the new dishes still hew closely to classic French technique for which DANIEL is known, they are far from traditional.

For the fall, highlights include a tender Scottish langoustine served with tapioca pearls, spruce tips, and a consomme broth; Long Island duck with Concord grapes and einkorn berries; and innovative desserts like a huckleberry vacherin (if you’ve never had one, think ice cream, but, somehow, better). There are also always surprises from the kitchen: a recent visit included a trio of broccoli-themed amuse bouches; and fresh bread served with a salted butter from Brittany, France, that was creamy, rich, and melted instantly on the tongue.

Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist
Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist
Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist

Diners in the main dining room have the choice of a four-course prix-fixe or a seven-course tasting menu. But, we’ll let you in on a little tip: if you’re not quite hungry enough (or maybe don’t have quite the funds) for that, you can order dishes from those menus a la carte while sitting at the bar or in the lounge. And it should go without saying that we all deserve a bit of luxury after this year. In addition, look out for caviar service to launch in the lounge later this year, as well as an abbreviated prix-fixe lunch menu.

Restaurant DANIEL is currently open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday, 5 pm to 10 pm.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterestYouTubeTikTok, and Snapchat.

Juliet Izon is a contributor for Thrillist.

New York

Scavenge for Peeps Cookies and More Fun Treats in NYC This Easter

The best Easter desserts in NYC this spring include Easter Bunny Churros and Carrot Cake Macarons.

Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery

As spring makes its way through New York City, not only do we get to enjoy beautiful weather, stunning cherry blossoms, and cool activities priced at $Free.99, but it’s also the perfect time for some limited-edition desserts.

With Easter fast approaching, bakeries are filling their shops with tons of chocolate eggs, carrot cake-flavoured everything and all types of flavours that offer both nostalgia and innovation within the city’s dessert landscape. After you’ve picked up a cake from the city’s best new bakeries, from Easter Bunny Churros to Carrot Cake Macarons, here are 8 Easter desserts to try in NYC right now.

Photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery
Photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery
Photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery

Magnolia Bakery

Throughout April
Various locations
There’s great news for devotees of Magnolia Bakery’s Classic Banana Pudding: For Easter, the spot is mixing up the iconic dessert’s vanilla pudding with some carrot cake. The Carrot Cake Pudding is filled with freshly grated carrots, coconuts, pineapples, raisins, and walnuts. And if both bananas and carrots aren’t your thing, they’ll be offering their Classic Vanilla Cupcakes in pastel colours with a Cadbury chocolate egg hidden inside.

Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery

Funny Face Bakery

Through Easter Sunday
NoHo and Seaport
Known for their celebrity face and meme-worthy decorated cookies, fans of Funny Face Bakery know that a new fun design is always just around the corner. For Easter, they’ve created the adorable Hoppy Easter decorated cookie that resembles a classic box of marshmallow Peeps. Along with that, they also have the return of their fan-favourite Caramel Pretzel Chip cookie flavour, plus a set of three mini-decorated cookies perfect for gifting.

The Doughnut Project

Friday, April 7 through Easter Sunday
West Village
With the ever-changing flavours at The Doughnut Project, it’s super easy to miss out on trying out a new debut. But this Easter weekend, there will be two new flavours available. One is of course, a carrot cake doughnut topped with a cream cheese glaze, and the other is known as the Doughnut Nest-a French cruller “nest” with a cream-filled doughnut hole “egg” in the centre.

Photo by Cole Saladino, courtesy of The Fragile Flour
Photo by Cole Saladino, courtesy of The Fragile Flour
Photo by Cole Saladino, courtesy of The Fragile Flour

The Fragile Flour

Wednesday, April 5 through Easter Sunday
East Village
For stellar vegan desserts this holiday, head to The Fragile Flour, a plant-based bakery and dessert wine bar. They’re known for going all out for each holiday with a variety of new pastry options that you can pair perfectly with a glass of wine. This Easter, they’ll have a whole dessert menu that’s both delicious and gorgeous for posting on IG. The menu includes Stuffed Carrot Cake Cookies, a Lemon Cake (whole or by the slice), some festive cupcakes, and specialty macarons.

Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate
Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate
Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate

Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate

Through mid April
Midtown
For a luxurious take on Easter chocolates, browse the selections available at Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate. You can even pick the Easter Signature Chef’s Selection for a special box curated by award-winning chefs. For something other than chocolate, choose between the Carrot Cake Macarons or the cake flavored Easter Marshmallow Trio, both of which are almost too cute to eat.

La Churreria

Throughout April
Nolita
This churro-centric spot is putting the cutest Easter spin on their crispy cinnamon churros by twisting them up into bunnies and bunny ears. At Churreria, choose from a Bunny Churro Lollipop topped with your choice of chocolate or dulce de leche and sprinkles, or the bunny ear churros in the Ube and Matcha ice cream sundae or the Ube Milkshake, both of which are made with ice cream from il laboratorio del gelato.

Photo by Briana Balducci
Photo by Briana Balducci
Photo by Briana Balducci

Lafayette

Throughout April
NoHo
You’ve surely seen this croissant tons of times while scrolling through IG or TikTok, whether it’s the Pain au Chocolat one or the latest of the month. Known as Supr√™mes, these filled croissants went viral and continue to live up to the hype each time a new flavour comes out. April’s flavour-sour cherry amaretto with a Luxardo custard and toasted almonds. While you’ll have to be super early and wait in line during one of their three drops of the day to get a taste, we promise you it’ll be worth it.

Photo courtesy of Levain
Photo courtesy of Levain
Photo courtesy of Levain

Levain

Seasonal
Various locations
We all know the iconic cookies from Levain-they’re gigantic, perfectly crispy and chewy, and well worth the long lines. For spring, the shop is launching a new flavour: Caramel Coconut Chocolate Chip. Filled with gooey caramel chips, fresh shredded coconut, and melty dark chocolate, it’s one you’ve got to try while it’s still around. To further celebrate the new season, all of Levain’s storefronts will be decked out in spring floral displays, serving as the perfect backdrop for pictures.

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Alaina Cintron is an Editorial Assistant at Thrillist. Her work can also be found in Westchester Magazine, Girls’ Life, and Spoon University. When she’s not at her desk typing away, you can find her exploring a local coffee shop or baking a new recipe.

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