Montrachet, which has been sealed up since May 2006 amongst take of "renovation" and other such prevarications, will open no more. Owner Drew Nieporent finally admitted it was closed for good and I, for one, am deeply sad.
Though Montrachet was only 21 years old when it shuttered, I count it as a landmark, since it achieved much in its short reign. It was an early pioneer in Tribeca when that neighborhood was still a kingdom of warehouses and industry, and caused people to start traveling downtown for fine dining. It helped bring fine French dining back to the city when such haute fare was dying out. In short, it changed things.
Montrachet should have gone on for decades more. It was elegant and understated, without being stuffy or tired. The food was good and the wine list great. I never found the service snooty. My wife and I were in the habit of going there for our anniversary and we always enjoyed our time and felt that we were experiencing a kind of unspoken sophistication that used to be the hallmark of New York living.
Not sure why Nieporent closed it. If it were losing money, it would have been easy enough to inject it with new life. New chef, new menu, whatever. Perhaps he got bored with it. I would have rather he shut down Tribeca Grill, which I find infinitely more past its prime than Montrachet ever was. But Bobby DeNiro wouldn't like that, I'm guessing.
A new restaurant will open in the Montrachet space at the end of summer. It's name? Corton. Well, at least they're keeping it Burgundy-themed.