Sneak Peek: Chambers, or Racines reinvented

There is so much fun to be had at the restaurant formerly known as Racines, and you can already feel it. Now called Chambers, the name is a play on the street and the room; the logo is the shape of the neighborhood; and the place, even on day one, is so cool and vibey you’ll find yourself making plans to come back before the first plate is finished. They open tonight.

A production of sommelier Pascaline Lepeltier, general manager Jared David, chef Jonathan Karis, formerly the chef de cuisine at Gramercy Tavern, and David Lillie from Chambers Street Wines, the new spot retains a lot of the energy of the old Racines, but it’s more beautiful and more spare in all the right ways. The menu is small, the décor is fine-crafted urban rustic and hours are limited to save everyone’s souls. (My guess is reservations will get tight. Note there’s bar seating for four in the kitchen, where you can watch the magic happen.)

More when I can sit down with the three of them for a chat, but they are trying to reinvent the wheel — meaning the restaurant business — and reduce the pressure-cooker environment with Chambers by keeping the team small, opening just five days a week and reducing hours — they will start the night at 6p and the last seating will be 10p. The lowest wage will be $20 an hour and all employees will have access to health insurance.

The staff is trained to be relaxed and flexible — there is no hierarchy and no assigned roles. Some nights a waiter might be behind the bar and vice versa. The result — at least last night at the bar, with Brian on the other side — is a staff that knows as much about the menu as the mezcal.

From our sampling of the menu, there was nothing I wouldn’t order regularly, but the lamb has to be one of the best dishes in the neighborhood, and I would go right now to have the hamachi crudo for breakfast if I could. The mushroom salad had amazing texture: tons of crunch thanks to candied walnuts and snap peas. Midway through our dinner, a modernized train station message board sent an alert for a special pour. Don’t skip dessert.

More TK for an official New Kid entry.

94 Chambers | Church & Broadway
Tuesday to Saturday, 6p to 10p
On OpenTable



  1. Cannot wait to try it. Love this teams resilience. Menu looks delicious!

  2. So glad this team is staying in the neighborhood! Looking forward to having dinner there often

  3. Looks Fab! Can’t wait to enjoy!! Congrats to the team!!

  4. Went last night. Delicious meal, gracious service, great wines. Wonderful to have the old (and new) team back in that space under a new name and format. A real neighborhood place!