Can Paul Liebrandt Make New York Safe for Molecular Gastronomy?

Confidence has never been his problem.Photo: Patrick McMullan
The details aren’t yet clear, but it seems that one way or another, Paul Liebrandt will soon be leading a restaurant in New York. (Snack asserts that it will be Montrachet, but Vogue’s Jeffrey Steingarten tells us that it will be a new venture with Drew Nieporent; the two are searching for a space.) Add to that the launch of Sam Mason’s Tailor, the buzz around Jordan Kahn’s work at Varietal, and the mainstreaming of tropes like foams, and it looks like molecular gastronomy will have another shot with New York diners.

The tools are here to stay: Even Jean-Georges Vongerichten has begun using a CVap oven, a favorite of MG types for its total moisture control. But, with all due respect to pastry rock stars Mason and Kahn, a lot is riding on how Liebrandt does. Extravagances like Kahn’s “Meditation in Purple” and the miso-butterscotch pork belly Mason has concocted in his test kitchen seem less insane than they might because they’re small-plate desserts. wd-50’s Wylie Dufresne has built a restaurant around molecular gastronomy, but he’s the only one. If Liebrandt can do it as well (and under the harsh glare of the media spotlight, sorry!), MG might have a chance after all. If he winds up with another Gilt, we might be looking at a thousand-year-era of steaks and salmon.

The Launch
Tiptoe Through the Molecules With Me…
Varietal’s ‘Meditation in Purple’: Need We Say More?