Fine Burgundies Make Great Names: Montrachet to Reopen as Corton

Montrachet is a grand cru vineyard tucked in the southern half of Cote d’Or, an illustrious and universally praised wine producing area of Burgundy.  It was once also the namesake for the famed TriBeCa institution recognized as the hallmark of new dining in New York City.

When Drew Nieporent and his partners closed Montrachet in 2006 it was speculated to be a brief hiatus.  It was not.  The restaurant that pioneered a “downtown” atmosphere, noted for reshaping the city’s fine dining experience with relaxed formalities, such as the surrender of neckties and jackets, while remaining loyal to superior standards of food and service, dallied in legal limbo for two years, after waning success forced its closure. 

Mr. Nieporent, who finally resolved contractual disputes with business partner and co-founder, Tony Zazula, told the New York Times yesterday, “The problems that prohibited us from going ahead have been resolved.”

Of the biggest dilemmas, was whether or not to reopen under the original title.  They have decided not.  Mr. Nieporent and his new partner, Chef Paul Liebrandt, “known for his molecular-gastronomy bag of tricks”, have decided to approach the restaurant anew and have renamed it—Corton, for another renowned Burgundian chardonnay.

The 70-seat dining room is slated to reopen in August, with a more classic menu than what Liebrandt has shown in the past.  He describes his food as aligning with the manner of Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud and David Bouley.  David Bouley was Drew Nieporent’s opening chef of Montrachet in 1985.

As for the food, Chef Liebrandt said:

“My food is not El Bulli-esque…If there is any chef whose food I look up to, it’s Michel Bras.”

Mr. Nieporent, stated as well:

“Paul’s food is very refined, but it’s also satisfying.”

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