Hudson Yards’ Newest Addition: A Sophisticated Brasserie from Top Tier Talent
There is no shortage of big names and big talent behind The Tavern by WS – the newest restaurant to open in Hudson Yards. The Executive Chef, Eli Kaimeh, is the former Chef de Cuisine at Per Se, and the Beverage Director, Michaël Engelmann is a Master Sommelier formerly of the Modern.
It is easy to imagine these names joining forces to create a fine-dining spot, where guests dress up to enjoy an elaborate tasting menu that lasts for hours. But the magic of The Tavern is that Kaimeh and Engelmann have applied their knowledge and expertise to create a comfortable and casual spot – that just so happens to serve absolutely delicious food complemented by a stellar wine list. The brainchild of restaurateur and developer Kenneth Himmel and "Wine Spectator" publisher Marvin R. Shanken, the restaurant bills itself as an "American brasserie," and it certainly feels like the type of place where you could happily sit for hours with friends or family after work or on the weekends.
The Tavern is one of the few restaurants in Hudson Yards on the Plaza level (there is outdoor seating for the warmer months), with an entrance on 11th Avenue just south of 33rd Street. As the restaurant is located directly below the new private members wine club WS New York, wine – and wine-friendly dishes – are one of its main draws, with a substantial list of 35 wines-by-the-glass – including Domaine du Carrou's 2018 Sancerre and Eric Rodez's Champagne Rosé – plus 400 bottles, with a combination of familiar and more unusual names. According to Engelmann, this mixed approach was very much intentional.
"My philosophy of wine has always been to pay tribute to the past, the present, and also what’s next," he said, "You have wines that have been established for a long time and that are recognizable by name, but I also want to feature the new kids on the block."
Though wine may draw crowds to The Tavern, the food by Chef Eli Kaimeh is certain to keep them there. True to its name, The Tavern serves up classic, seemingly simple dishes – like a Caesar Salad, Pork and Beans, Rotisserie Chicken, and even a Roast Beef sandwich – but executed in a way that only a Per Se alum could possibly accomplish.
"I’ve sacrificed years and years of discipline and training, I couldn’t just serve a regular Caesar Salad," said Kaimeh, "We do it just a little bit differently."
Hence, it is presented almost like a work-of-art, with its contents folded beautifully into a bowl of lettuce. The Pork and Beans is made from kurobuta pork jowel from Snake River Farms that is brazed overnight, and served with a creamy, saucy stew of beans and tomato chow chow. The lemon tart for dessert packs a whollop of flavor into a delicate finish, while the apple pie is warm and hearty – the platonic ideal of how an apple pie should taste.
"The fun part of this is to take these dishes and make them fitting for this environment and this dining room," Kaimeh said, "These are all foods that you can eat seven days a week for dinner."
Other highlights from the menu include the poached salmon, served with a dill emulsion and smoked salmon roe that lends it a complex, creamy flavor; and any dish from the rotisserie, which cooks the meat – short ribs, sausage and chicken are currently available – slowly and tenderly, allowing it to crips while staying juicy inside.
Like the food, the interiors by the Rockwell Group – known for their work on The Shed, as well as restaurants like Union Square Café (not to mention, the interiors of many Related buildings, including 456 Washington) – manage to be rich and light at the same time. During the day, sunlight streams in through enormous windows, brightening up the darker, jewel tone banquets and vintage French Belle Epoque posters, while at night, Vessel and the surroundings illuminate the space. This is not a place to hide from the outside, but to celebrate it; to sit back, settle in and indulge.
"The goal is to have a place where locals can come to feel nourished," said Kaimeh, "It doesn’t have to be this giant experience, it’s just about eating something really good and that you’re very comfortable with, satisfying your hunger."
Hours: 11:30 AM - 10:30 PM
Location: 37 Hudson Yards
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