Out With the Old and In With the New: Nicolas Cantrel Dishes on Why Bagatelle Shuttered and is Now Beaumarchais

Photo courtesy Nicolas Cantrel

For some people, Sunday afternoon in the Meatpacking District means one thing: a raucously boozy brunch (complete with dancing on the banquettes) at Bagatelle (if you've never been, here's a recap). So it might come as a surprise that the restaurant quietly shuttered its doors last week and is reopening Friday as Beaumarchais, a meat-centric bistro. We called up chef Nicolas Cantrel to learn more about this new venture.

First of all, tell me about the new concept.

We're adding a bigger selection of meats because we're in the Meatpacking District and we're going to focus more on the traditional. We have a leg of lamb and we'll sell it with bean cassoulet. We'll have T-bone, and a veal chop with a side of chanterelles and baby romaine. There'll be steaks and duck à l'orange. It's a very traditional French preparation served with romanesco and a sweet orange duck sauce. We'll have rib eye for two ...

So why change? Bagatelle was quite popular.

We were popular for brunch but we wanted to focus more on dinner. We've tried to change it to the maximum.

Is the space going to look the same?

No, we're doing a redesign, changing the banquettes and the color. We closed last Sunday and we're reopening Friday night. For now we're going to focus more on dinner. Maybe we'll do lunch later, but we'll wait until the temperatures go up.

The menu is very meat-focused. What's your favorite type of meat/cut to work with?

For me, I like hanger steak. It's a very tasty piece of meat.

Will boozy brunches be a fixture?

I don't know the politics of that. I'm just in the kitchen.

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