Well known chef David Waltauk has returned to the New York City dining scene after an absence since the closing of the legendary Chantarelle. This nice but casual restaurant features a large bar as you walk in that you can dine at or continue past to the main room. Muted colors and a fresh paint smell swathed the comfy and intimate dining room. Service was very on point, friendly and informative. The food can be described as contemporary with French technique.
The menu is divided into Starters, Appetizers and Main Courses. The Sea Urchin Guacamole also contains foie gras, wasabi and is topped with fish roe. It is a mad genius or perhaps a stoned party boy with nothing else left in the fridge that thinks to combine these ingredients to great effect. The accompanying lotus root chips were fantastically crispy and a perfect vessel for the chunky and luxurious dip.
The Chilled Watercress Soup with smoky bits of arctic char was refreshing and the crisped skin of the fish was like an arctic char chicharron. I would love to have a bag of these, perhaps the charcharron?
The General Tso's Sweetbreads to me were just ok. I read that this was a holdover from the Chantarelle days so I was looking forward to this dish. The sauce was tasty and distinctly of the take-out flavor but I guess I would have like to see more texture in the sweetbreads themselves. The Duck Breast with the Smoky Jus on the other hand was perfectly cooked and seasoned. I literally wanted to lick the smokey jus off my plate. This is a duck I would get again and again. Slightly bitter Snow Pea Leaves sauteed with garlic was reminiscent of the more popular spinach done the same way and a nice side dish.
élan has a nice start and I would like to re-visit it down the road since it was still in it's first week. I can definitely see myself grabbing something to eat at the bar and having a beer. Perhaps some oysters. For now it is a good option if you happen to be in the area or are looking to try something new in the city.