Celebrated French-born chef Michel Richard is taking on New York City with his first Manhattan restaurant opened at the gilded New York Palace Hotel. Set in three beautiful landmark rooms, Villard Michel Richard offers patrons the option of experiencing an a la carte French bistro menu in the main dining room, a Tuesday-Saturday gourmet prix-fixe seating in the intimate Gallery Room, or a more casual dinner at the bar and lounge.
Noted for pioneering French-California cuisine before moving to Washington DC to open his flagship restaurant, Chef Richard brings the same blend of imaginative yet sophisticated cooking to his New York restaurant, mixing elements of haute New-American cuisine and innovative French flair. Patrons can expect to see the classics on the menu from French Onion Soup and Pâté starters to the Prime Côte de Boeuf Au Poivre main course. But diners can also experience some of Richard’s signature American style dishes such as his famous Fried Chicken served with mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts and three variations of burgers, including a decadent lobster version.
While the menu may lean towards the more casual, bistro style, the décor is anything but. Dramatic and ornate, the design space reflects more of the glitzy landmark nature of the hotel than the intimate feel of the food. Created by renowned designer Jeffrey Beers, the grand historical space features a striking clear glass wine cube as the focal point in the center of the Bistro dining room, and abstract moving image projections on the 30-foot-high barrel vaulted ceiling.
A variety of art installations are layered throughout and showcase portraits of Chef Richard and Henry Villard. The Gallery space features a series of oversized black and white photographs of classic movie starlets, presented in white gold leaf frames and illuminated by halo lighting. To display the chef’s culinary creations of his set tasting menu, tables in the Gallery are illuminated from within and a large circular Chef’s Table sits adjacent to the kitchen. It’s safe to say that while the food may feel comforting and familiar, the experience itself is as extravagant as they come.