Real estate tycoon Aby Rosen likes pairing fancy buildings and restaurants – and he’s doing it once again.
By: Thom Sangelli
Rosen is working with respected restaurant group Invest Hospitality, LLC, and will launch Le Jardinier, which is being describe as a “vegetable-driven” eatery. Running it at the new and decidedly swanky building located at 100 E. 53rd. Street will be superstar chef Alain Verzeroli.
The plan originally called for the renowned French chef and restaurateur Joël Robuchon to take it on, but with his death last year the baton has been handed to Verzeroli, his protégé for more than two decades.
Le Jardinier is scheduled to debut later this week, to be followed by Shun, another restaurant in the same building, in June.
Rosen is a German-born American real estate tycoon living in New York City. He is the co-founder of RFR Holding, which owns a portfolio of 71 properties in United States cities including New York, Miami, and Las Vegas; and Tel Aviv, Israel.
“Restaurants are an important part of our buildings,” Rosen told Side Dish. “People come and go. Restaurants are a constant. People keep coming back. They have soul and they are a great way to showcase art and design.”
The 62-seat ground-floor Le Jardinier “has the feel of an indoor garden, with green-marble walls and floors and a vegetable-driven menu to match,” the Wall Street Journal Magazine recently noted. “Upstairs, in a more intimate space influenced by the American art deco movement, Verzeroli will offer French food with Japanese accents. “Everything here will calm the senses,” Verzeroli says. As for the second-floor restaurant’s name, Shun, “imagine the season of the peach,” the chef says. “There are only a few days when the peach is at its actual peak. Shun is the definition of that moment.”
But fame and buzz can prove fleeting. Three years ago, Rosen made headlines by giving the world-class Four Seasons the heave-ho from the Seagram Building. In its place, Rosen installed Major Food Group’s The Pool and The Grill.
“It’s another angle for marketing,” Rosen told the New York Post. “People can stay home and order in. Tenants always have priority. But the building needs to be good — a good restaurant can’t help a bad building.”
The Financial Times recently asked in print why Rosen chose to buy the Chrysler building. It answered, “In his quest to make Chrysler pay off, Mr. Rosen may have his work cut out. The sprawling ceiling mural in the pink marble lobby still has the power to make tourists tilt their gazes skyward in awe. But on the arcade floor below, many of the storefronts are shuttered. On a recent afternoon, in one of the few that was open — a dry cleaners — an old woman was leaning over a sewing machine under pale fluorescent light.”