Over the course of nearly three decades, the space at 239 West Broadway has held two different restaurants from NYC powerhouse restaurateur Drew Nieporent. First was Montrachet, a gamechanging Tribeca temple that held down the fort for more than two decades — maintaining its pristine accolades all the while. Then came Corton, where Paul Liebrandt commanded the kitchen, turning out inventive plates for five years. That restaurant closed when Liebrandt went to The Elm over in Williamsburg, but Nieporent has reincarnated the space again, this time unleashing Bâtard (239 West Broadway, 212-219-2777), which just opened last night.
“The key thing to understand is that the space has always been about culinary invention,” says Nieporent. “For 22-plus years, we’ve had a series of great chefs and wine people out of Montrachet and then Corton. The space has always been sort of a platform for very talented people.”
Bâtard will follow suit. “What I’m trying to do here is great food, first and foremost,” says the owner. “Montrachet had a tremendous history, but it ran its course. Corton received every accolade, but it fell into the category of too precious. Bâtard is in the middle. They were both stellar places, and I want to do something that carries on that tradition. We have a 27-year history here of really good food.”
After a space redesign, he’s installed John Winterman in the front of the house, who has spent the last several years as maître d at Daniel. Taking control of the kitchen is Markus Glocker, an Austria native whose star-studded resume includes stints at Restaurant Steirereck in Vienna and with Charlie Trotter.
“The food is going to be stellar,” says Nieporent. “There has been this time period in New York when everything seems to be about the taco, the food truck, the next rendition of a hamburger. It’s very hard to do real food that comes from a base of a lot of training and a lot of hard work. So there’s a place for this restaurant — it’s a reinterpretation of fine dining. Fine dining as we know it is probably a relic at this point. There are a handful that still create that facade, but I’ve always been about stripping away pomp and circumstance.”
Glocker will turn out a fixed price menu of food that channels the original spirit of Montrachet, which offered an inexpensive multicourse meal in a room that had no dress code. And you’ll have flexibility when you order: a two-course, three-course, or four-course option, and no matter what you choose, you won’t be locked into appetizer-entree-dessert. As with Montrachet, the menu is paired to a user-friendly wine list.
Beyond the reinvention, this opening holds special relevance for Nieporent: “When I opened Montrachet in 1985, I was 29 years old,” he says. “This is 29 years later, so it has a lot of meaning to me.”
Bâtard is now open Tuesday through Saturday for dinner.