Before you go to a restaurant, what do you want — or need — to know most? In our series, The Rundown, we’re sharing all the essentials about newly opened (as well as some of your favorite) restaurants.
This time, we’re taking a look at One White Street, opening on August 5 in Tribeca. Reservations go live on July 27.
One White Street is the second restaurant from sommelier Dustin Wilson, the former wine director at Eleven Madison Park, and chef Austin Johnson, the former executive chef of Michelin-starred Frenchie in Paris, who also run Goodman’s Bar.
1. This place sounds kind of familiar …
One White Street isn’t just the name of this new restaurant — or its address. It’s also the embassy address of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Nutopia, the conceptual country or “micronation” of a new utopian society that Lennon and Ono founded in 1973 as a way to address Lennon’s immigration and citizenship troubles.
Nutopia, as Lennon and Ono wrote long ago, has “no land, no boundaries, no passports, only people.” For both Wilson and Johnson, it’s crucial that the entire experience feel accessible and, most importantly, that it makes diners feel good. “We’re taking a page out of the history of the building here, this idea that there are no geographical boundaries and that everyone is welcome here,” says Wilson.
Lennon and Ono never actually lived at 1 White Street — they were partial to the Upper West Side — but even years after Lennon died in 1980, mail addressed to him was still sent to 1 White Street.
Today, however, that embassy is now home to a restaurant: One White Street.
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2. Yes, the space is a converted town home.
Wilson and Johnson essentially inherited a three-bedroom, two-bathroom town home built in 1808 that they transformed into a restaurant that spans three floors, with three separate kitchens.
On the ground floor, you’ll find an easygoing wine bar with an a la carte menu, as well as a newly constructed outdoor patio with air conditioning. “It’s a more casual atmosphere, with a lounge feel to it that’s more relaxed and fun, and the menu is a little bit more rustic and approachable and very wine friendly,” says Wilson.
Upstairs, on floors two and three, is where they will serve a six-course tasting menu from two open kitchens on both floors; both floors offer the same $148 tasting menu.
Wilson’s two favorite interior features of the restaurant are the stone staircase leading up to the other floors, and the bar: “I will be excited personally to sit at that bar from time to time.”
3. They’ll always have Paris.
Another big influence is Greg Marchand’s Frenchie group of restaurants, where Johnson, a Nebraska native, worked from 2016 to 2019. Frenchie is also where Johnson met Wilson.
“You had two opportunities to experience Frenchie,” Johnson explains. “You had the wine bar, Frenchie Bar a Vins, which was high tops, casual, loud music, and T-shirts for the staff. And then across the street, at Frenchie Rue du Nil, there was more of a tasting menu, and a little bit more of an elevated service style with wine pairings.”
At One White Street, Johnson and Wilson hope to emulate those different types of experiences for diners.
“Most of my career has been at fancy Michelin-starred places, but then I discovered what it was like to cook in a French wine bar in Paris,” explains Johnson. “And it’s not something I wanted to leave behind; I wanted to bring it to New York. How I want to spend the rest of my career in a kitchen isn’t just limited to doing fancy tasting menus. At any point, I want to be able to run downstairs and cook, you know, a different style at any time. And that’s what we’ve created.”
4. Pay attention to the artwork.
Throughout the restaurant, there are five Gordon Matta-Clark pieces to be found.
Matta-Clark, an artist whose work can be found at the Whitney, Guggenheim, and the Museum of Modern Art, was known for his striking use of different media to create the concept of anarchitecture — an interest in voids, gaps, and leftover spaces.
That concept, Johnson noted, seems particularly fitting for the Nutopia address. At the restaurant, the pieces include “Splitting” (located on the ground floor); “Conical Intersects” (located on the second floor); and “Days” (located on the third floor).
5. Let’s talk about the food.
Upstate in the Hudson Valley is a 10-acre farm, called Rigor Hill, that produces vegetables exclusively for One White Street — everything from stock carrot and onions to Chinese pink celery, nine different types of tomatoes, and husk cherries.
“It’s not a class, or a co-op,” says Johnson. “It’s our farm, our team, our vegetables, so when you talk about the food, it’s the actual truest definition of farm to table.”
There’s a single a la carte menu that will be served from the ground floor kitchen, with dishes ranging in price from $12 to $48. On floors two and three, One White Street will offer a six-course tasting menu that will change with the seasons.
For summer, Johnson is taking fresh Rigor Hill fennel and creating a salad of raw shaved fennel marinated in yuzu and white anchovy, with blue cheese and pistachios. That same a la carte menu features a roasted tomato focaccia that takes advantage of summer tomato season, and grilled scallop skewers spotlighting summer squash.
Desserts from pastry chef Ileene Cho include a dish that uses smoked potato, chocolate, and buckwheat; another spotlights coffee, yuzu, and banana.
Upstairs, the opening tasting menu will feature smoked tomato with Calabrian chile; cured foie gras with black truffles and a Parker house roll; sea scallops with fumet and coriander oil; a crusted striped sea bass with Thai green curry and avocado; and a 60-day dry-aged strip steak with grilled summer squash and red pepper harissa.
6. Don’t forget the wine program.
Given Wilson’s background (he is also a co-owner of Verve Wine shop, which has locations in New York, San Francisco, and Chicago), you’d probably expect a notable wine program. It won’t be a big wine program — “We just don’t have the space for it,” he says — but it is a thoughtful one, he promises.
Wine director Audrey Frick, formerly of Denver’s Tavernetta, is overseeing both the wine and cocktails. And yes, the team turned to John and Yoko for inspiration.
“I think the wine list is exciting because it’s a very worldly approach, much like what Nutopia is, as this conceptual country where everyone’s welcome,” says Johnson. “It’s not just stuff from Burgundy or from Italy; it’s worldwide, and it’s affordable.” Wines by the glass range in price from $15 to $35 a glass.
One White Street’s first floor and outdoor dining rooms are open for walk-ins from 5 to 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, and from 5 to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The second and third floors of the restaurant are available by reservation from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and from 5:30 to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.