When Rosemarys and Bobo owner Carlos Suarez went to Provence last fall to research his next restaurant project, he came home with not only menu inspiration but a name for the joint. Claudette is the 91-year-old mother-in-law (and mentor) of Reine Sammut, the chef of La Fenière in Lourmarin, where Suarez and his business partner, Mark Barak, ate a meal so memorable they sent their own chef, Koren Grieveson, to work a stint in Sammuts kitchen. Later this week, the team opens Claudette in the former Cru space, which has been rusticated, French-farmhouse-style, with hand-painted tiles and 200-year-old barnwood floors by Suarezs cousin, Guini Suarez of Dekar Design.
Grievesons menu unites the varied threads that comprise Provençal cuisine (North African and Middle Eastern among them) in dishes like grilled lamb with zaatar and yogurt vinaigrette, and chicken tagine with bulgur and harissa. She dusts her fries with ras el hanout, flavors an assortment of family-style vegetable and seafood small plates with Provencal herbs, and pairs Tunisian breads with regional spreads like tapenade and pistou. Shes even plucked a couple of recipes straight from the matriarchs repertoire, like Claudettes bouillabaisse en croute, served with monkfish and rouille. Here's a look at the space and some of the food.
24 Fifth Ave., at 9th St.; 212-868-2424