Alain Allegretti in at La Petite Maison, Opening December 8

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Photo: Courtesy of Gothamist

Known as much on the New York dining scene for his oxtail-stuffed Niois ravioli as for his status as Eaters Hottest Chef 2008, Alain Allegretti has been MIA since closing his eponymous Flatiron restaurant last spring. But only last week, he signed on as corporate executive chef for La Petite Maison, the third branch of a Provenal restaurant with outposts in Nice and London seemingly the perfect fit for a man whose fish soup New York Magazine once deemed the Best in New York.

Inhabiting the midtown premises that served as Nelson Rockefellers private offices (and subsequently as Aquavit and Gray Kunzs short-lived Grayz), the restaurant, which shares an architect and an owner with Villa Pacri, echoes the layouts of its predecessors, with a more casual bar at the entrance and a dining room downstairs. Allegretti, who cooked under Jacques Maximin, Alain Chapel, and Alain Ducasse, has quite the pedigree, as does his chef de cuisine, Arno Busquet, a ten-year veteran of Jol Robuchons kitchens. Together, theyve collaborated on a menu of regional specialties, from stuffed baby vegetables and artichoke salad to herb-crusted rack of lamb with rosemary-chickpea fries.

La Petite Maison, 13 W. 54th St., nr. Fifth Ave.; no phone yet.