Bringing back the classics that made Chanterelle a fine-dining staple for three decades was not enough to make chef David Waltuck's élan a success. Waltuck and co-owner George Stinson announced today that their Gramercy restaurant will close at the end of the month.
The restaurant opened in June 2014, five years after Waltuck's much-missed Chanterelle closed, but the reception was lukewarm. Grubstreet's Adam Platt found a "curiously flat tone" in both the menu and decor for a chef who had revolutionized comfort food years before it became the reigning trend, a sentiment echoed by the Daily News when it called the restaurant "more like a tentative slink back into the limelight than a triumphant comeback." Pete Wells at the New York Times saw a willingness to play in offbeat dishes like sea urchin guacamole and dumplings filled with mashed potatoes.
In an interview with the Times, Waltuck said elan's closing wasn't about the usual rent problems plaguing the city but something more fundamental that had changed in New York's dining scene since Chanterelle's closing in 2009. "Dining out has become like going to the movies,” he says. “You read a good review, you go have dinner, and then you move on to the next one. It’s hard to build a loyal, regular clientele.”
For its swan song, élan will be serving a special three-course menu with a glass of bubbly ($40) beginning Feb. 15 that will change daily.