This sad news just into my email in box, a press release announcing the closing of venerable downtown restaurant Fleur de Sel:
Chef-owner Cyril Renaud announces the closure of Fleur de Sel, his Michelin-starred restaurant in the Flatiron district (5 East 20th Street), on Saturday, February 21st, following dinner service. Chef Renaud will then focus his attention on his new, more casual restaurant, Bar Breton (254 Fifth Avenue at 28th Street).
Chef Renaud says, “I am proud of the successful run we’ve had at Fleur de Sel. During the more than eight years it’s been open, we have given thousands of customers a wonderful dining experience. In the process, we’ve also earned many critical awards, including most recently a Michelin star (for the third year in a row) and a four-star rating in Forbes. In fact, our food and service have never been better. But, as I hope my customers will understand, the economy has forced us to close the restaurant for financial reasons. Though I am saddened to have to close Fleur de Sel, I am very proud of what we’ve done–and I am confident that my new restaurant, Bar Breton will be a better fit for this economy, offering customers a casual spot for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner.”
Chef Renaud, who was born in Brittany, opened Fleur de Sel in 2000 with his family. His father renovated the physical space while his mother worked on the interior design. To add a personal touch, Renaud hung his own paintings in the dining room. Fleur de Sel was quickly recognized as one of the city’s top French restaurants–“an intimate setting for imaginative, refined French cooking,” as William Grimes wrote in The New York Times.
Chef Renaud started his cooking career in Europe; after moving to the U.S. in 1991, he rose to the position of Chef de Cuisine at Bouley and later was tapped to be Executive Chef of La Caravelle, where he garnered three stars from The New York Times. In 2006, Renaud founded Leapfrog Caterers, which features his market driven contemporary Breton cuisine served off-site; Bar Breton, a casual Breton bistro featuring galettes (savory buckwheat crepes), opened in December 2008.