Majorelle is Manhattan’s prettiest and plushest new restaurant in a long time, a blessed relief from today’s hard-edged industrial dining rooms that make shattered eardrums part of the “fun.”
But with a $110 three-course French meal ranging from borderline awful to just OK, Majorelle is also the city’s — if not America’s — most overpriced restaurant in a long time. Oy, flambé.
With beloved former La Grenouille frontman Charles Masson running the show and four-star chef Christian Delouvrier at the stove, long-hyped Majorelle was supposed to give the flower-filled, fabulous frog of East 52nd Street a run for its free-flowing money.
Granted, superflush patrons drop plenty more at rarefied places around town — but usually for a zillion-course tasting. Majorelle, which debuted this spring after years of construction in several rooms at the Lowell Hotel on East 63rd Street, offers far less in the way of value.
Never mind that New York isn’t hurting for great French restaurants. In addition to classic La Grenouille, we have modern (Le Bernardin, Jean-Georges, Restaurant Daniel, Gabriel Kreuther) and what might be called New Wave-traditional (Le Coucou, Le Coq Rico). Where Majorelle fits into this Gallic pantheon is exactly nowhere.
So what does your money buy? At Majorelle, it’s mediocrity — starting with a miserly baby radish meant to serve as an amuse-bouche and concluding with an “upside-down” floating island dessert that leaves diners stranded with neither flavor nor texture.
Most Manhattan prix-fixe restaurants lay on lots of complimentary extras. But Majorelle’s “three courses” means exactly three (the aforementioned tiny radish being the one extra).
Nevertheless, Majorelle has been full or near-full with big spenders most nights (and is sure to be during afternoons, too, once lunch service begins on Aug. 15). The town is so awash in global lucre, it’s a wonder we don’t trip over euros, rubles and bitcoins getting out of bed.
On multiple visits, male diners sported dark suits and ties, even on steamy evenings. No loud-mouthed Eurotrash in sight. Here, dressed-up ladies and gents create an oddly subdued mood, just like in the fancy dining room in “Scarface” before Al Pacino’s “Say good night to the bad guy” meltdown.
I want Majorelle to be great. Sentimental slob that I am, I initially fell for the plush main dining room, framed in marble columns, egg-and-dart moldings, etched mirrors,…