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Update July 22, 2014- The NYT review came out and they got 2-stars from Pete Wells, with this nice comment, “Some New Yorkers will keep Racines NY out of their regular rotation because it doesn’t look French enough. This would be, to put it kindly, dumb. Dinner and drinks at Racines NY come as close as anything in Manhattan to the flavors of Paris today.”.
The food is worthy of 3-stars, but 2 is fair since the restaurant is not fancy enough. Soon, they will remodel or relocate, no doubt.
June 9, 2014- By Steven E. Greer
What do Il Mulino, Il Giglio, and Racines NY have in common? You can walk by all of them on the street and not notice them from the outside, yet they all have supremely good food inside.
I knew the location of Racines NY on Chambers Street, but I still walked by it three times before I found it. With the construction on Chambers Street, the exterior is unimpressive, to say the least (although fancy new condos are going up soon to gentrify the section).
Once inside, I sat at the small row of four seats that overlook the small but modern and clean kitchen. Fifteen feet way, I could see Chef Frédéric Duca (awarded a Michelin star last year while working at the Paris restaurantat L’instant d’Or) prepare the edible art.
Open visible kitchens are almost mandatory for me now. I highly recommend asking for the kitchen view.
General Manager and co-owner Arnaud Tronche is the Sommelier. I know nothing about wine, but I felt like a connoisseur after I was done. Wine really does go well with food. Who knew.
It was a true delight to watch the chefs create the dishes from start to finish. They surprised me with a few items that I was admiring being prepared, not realizing that they were heading for little ole me.
The first appetizer was salmon grilled on the outside, but rare on the inside, like a tuna.
Then arrived a crab cake civiche with lobster bisque. It was paired with Jo Landron Muscadet Amphibolite wine.
I was there on a summer Monday night, and the place was full, which is a very good sign. The word is getting out despite no major newspaper reviews yet (Racines opened in April).
Racines NY is co-owned by the David Lanher, who runs the two Paris Racines. Arnaud Tronche is the second, and the third owner is David Lillie who also owns nearby Chambers Street Wines.