Recently Opened Restaurants
by Julie Besonen, 09/02/2014
Photo: Evan Barbour
43 E. 20th St., 646-682-7105, Gramercy, Manhattan
Élan is a classy establishment, austere except for enormous Chuck Close self-portraits lining the wall behind the bar. Panache and artistry are on the plate, thanks to David Waltuck, whose Chanterelle had a 30-year run in TriBeCa. He has spent the last few years cooking and consulting for Ark Restaurants, but this Gramercy space marks his return to the kind of food he does best: expert technique and imagination applied to seasonal and impeccably sourced ingredients. His much-loved grilled seafood sausage is as memorable as ever, plus he has new treasures on the menu, like potato pot stickers with summer truffles, chicken pot pie with morels and bacon, and irresistible sides of duck fat hash browns and creamless creamed corn. Some of the best items come free: warm, soft pretzels with a knob of grainy mustard butter and crunchy, cocoa-covered chocolate truffles at the end. Service is gentle and attentive, the decibel level agreeably low.