Soho’s Le Jardin has long been a favorite fallback for a leisurely brunch; despite its name, so few people knew about its back garden (Eric Asimov said it “appears to have been there forever” when he gave the place a glowing review in 1995) that it’s always been a breeze to snag a table under the grape trellises for a mid-morning cassoulet. A Tripadvisor review couldn’t have put it better: The place was “low-rent summer glamour.” It’s where you took your parents when you didn’t want them to wait an hour for eggs, and you wanted to show them that, see, New York isn’t all filth and pretense! Well, that place is now gone.
We found Le Jardin shuttered last night, and a Yelp review from October 19 indicates it was closed that night, as well. Its website is down, no one answers the phone, and an employee at Mexican Radio next door says they’ve closed for good. It’s no surprise — exterior scaffolding as well as a somewhat off-the-strip location on Cleveland Place conspired to make sure the dining room was often completely empty. So what happens now? Will this become the next slice of Serge Becker sexiness off of Petrosino Square? Or given that Osteria Morini just moved in across the way, will an even more high-profile operator lay claim to one of downtown’s loveliest backyards? Either way, you can probably kiss the brunch-time coq au vin good-bye.
Congratulations, foie gras activists. And au revoir, Le Jardin.