Saleya, the long-gestating restaurant owned by Michel Cohen of Tribeca Pediatrics, has finally opened—well, halfway. The downstairs is serving lunch; construction upstairs will ramp up once the liquor license comes through.
The space used to be Bangal Curry, although you’d never guess it. Downstairs is lovely, which an extremely high ceiling and a wall of windows looking out onto W. Broadway. Opposite the windows is a mirrored wall decorated with vintage steamer-trunk lids lined with antique wallpaper (which Cohen collects); eventually the lids will function as shelves for wine, liquor, and possible market products such as pickles. The restaurant’s name comes from the Cours Saleya, a plaza and market in Nice—where Cohen grew up—and the use of color feels bright and beachy: The façade is painted sky blue, the tables are lilac, and royal blue and yellow are used as accents. The room seats around 30, including the bar.
Downstairs will be more of an all-day café—right now it’s open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.-ish—serving soups, sandwiches, flatbreads, and salads. Chef Kevin O’Connell’s menu (click to enlarge), currently on the limited side as the restaurant gets on its feet, draws from around the Mediterranean, including North Africa and the Middle East. The plan for upstairs, meanwhile, is to serve tapas, and manager Stephane Dorian (who got his start working for David Bouley and at one point managed Kurt Gutenbrunner’s Blaue Gans.) Dorian says the wine list, also Mediterranean, will extend beyond France, Spain, and Italy: “All the wine will come from within thirty miles of the water.”
He gave me a tour of the upstairs, which is significantly bigger. (It reminded me of Pepolino in that it extends beyond the downstairs footprint.) There are two dining rooms conjoined by a zinc bar; total seating is around 65. Dorian says the atmosphere will be “more rustic” than downstairs, making the most of a wonderful old brick wall and floorboards that Cohen bought upstate.
Saleya is at 65 W. Broadway, 212-510-7390.
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• Sushi of Gari Tribeca
• Barry’s Bootcamp
• Trinity Place Department Store
• Dirty Bird To-Go
• Super Linda’s Taqueria
• By Joy Gryson