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.
In this edition, we’re headed to Midtown — Rockefeller Center, to be exact — where we’re checking out the latest of many new restaurant openings at the iconic destination. This time, it’s Jupiter, the new restaurant from the same trio responsible for bringing you King, the relaxed, elegant, and charming Soho jewel box of a restaurant, known for its ever-changing daily menu of Southern French and Italian dishes.
At Jupiter, partners Clare de Boer, Jess Shadbolt, and Annie Shi have taken over the rink-level restaurant space once occupied by The Sea Grill. Here’s everything you need to know about Jupiter before you go.
1. Jupiter was heavily inspired by its location at Rockefeller Center.
The trio says they looked at more than 20 different spaces at Rockefeller Center before settling on this one, looking out onto the rink. With room for 140 guests, a spacious open kitchen, long bar, and a massive pasta production kitchen below the restaurant-level kitchen, they were drawn to the history and iconography of a place like Rockefeller Center.
“Rock Center feels like this amazing town square,” says de Boer. “Like St. Mark’s in Venice,” adds Shi. And being at the center of it all, they say, informed the concept that would eventually become Jupiter: an all-day classic Italian restaurant they hope will be your new favorite spot for a leisurely lunch, a refreshing aperitif, and a hearty dinner.
“We have the cacophony of noise and activity both in the restaurant and on the ice rink and in the surrounding area of Rockefeller Center and Midtown — this energy is so much a part of how we thought about the restaurant — and it’s so inherent to the Italian approach to life,” Shadbolt explains.
2. Case in point: the name.
Walk around the Art Deco masterpiece that is Rockefeller Center long enough and you’ll start to pick up on a theme for the design with its many nods to Greek and Roman mythology.
“Jupiter is the Roman king of the gods” says de Boer. “And when you walk around here, you’ll start to realize all the psychology around Rock Center, with the Prometheus statue out there, spinning this ring up on the side. It kind of relates to Italy, and it’s also a cheeky little nod to King, our first restaurant, and then it really ties us into the center.”
3. They’re happy to be in good company, too.
Jupiter is one of many highly anticipated restaurants to be opening at Rockefeller Center in the past two years — all from chefs and operators who’ve seen success outside of Midtown Manhattan. The others include Ignacio Mattos’ (Estela, Altro Paradiso) Lodi, which opened in 2021; the Frenchette team’s Le Rock, which opened in July; as well as NARO, from the Atomix and Atoboy team, which just opened in October.
They say that seeing so many other chefs and restaurateurs from downtown eager to open restaurants at Rockefeller Center was encouraging. Says Shi, “It’s extremely difficult for any one single restaurant to change people’s minds or to become something of a destination, but if you have many restaurants coming together like we are here, it does.”
4. And they’ve got a very close crew working with them.
The three partners have brought on a few familiar faces from their previous work experiences, too, making for a very tight-knit team leading operations at Jupiter. They include general manager Pat Abatiell, who was one of King’s earliest servers when the restaurant first opened, as well as executive chef Gaz Herbert, formerly of acclaimed London restaurant Ikoyi, who previously worked with de Boer and Shadbolt at London’s River Café.
5. This is not a replica of King.
One thing is quite clear: Jupiter is not going to be an exact replica of King. For one thing, it’s much bigger, with 32 more seats than King (when you add in its outdoor dining setup), and also being far removed from the Soho neighborhood. Without King’s physical space constraints, the team is thinking that much bigger and scaling things up a bit.
“The consistency and general ethos of the place is ours, and we’ve got some of our core people that we brought with us, but we’re able to do, in many ways, so much more for so many more people, and also for different people,” says de Boer. “In the same way that Soho just feels so quintessentially New York, I think Rockefeller Center feels so quintessentially New York, but in a different way.”
Shadbolt says she’s excited to be offering lunch at Jupiter — a meal service at King that was a casualty of the pandemic — and to serve different crowds at all hours of the day, from nearby office workers and theater goers to tourists and locals.
Jupiter also doesn’t look like King in terms of its design. Brooklyn-based firm Workstead, which designed Le Rock and the lobby of the Wythe Hotel, oversaw the design of Jupiter. “Whereas King is very much this very quiet, very still kind of jewel box neighborhood spot, this is much bigger and so it needed a little bit more energy in the color and the different finishes to bring it to life,” says Shi. “We wanted it to feel joyful and whimsical, and also different from King.”
6. Do try to grab a seat at the bar.
“The heartbeat of Jupiter,” says Shadbolt, is the long red travertine bar that wraps around the entire length of the restaurant in an L shape, giving diners purview into the open kitchen. “We wanted to have the bar be this classic bartenders’ bar with the open kitchen, because we really believe that the front of house and the back of house work together as one team, and that’s kind of echoed in the design,” Shi notes.
Shadbolt says she can’t wait for diners to grab a seat at the bar during golden hour, when the sunlight streams in through the windows that look out onto the rink.
7. The drinks are very much in line with Italian drinking culture.
For one, the by-the-glass wine list is completely Italian, and the focus of the bottle list will also look to Italy, featuring producers that aren’t always the most expected.
“Much like the food, the wine list is really based on originality,” says Shi. “We’ve been working really hard with producers who echo the food — where their wines have vibrancy, freshness, and energy, and I think in wine, it’s so easy to go to the old guard of Italian wine, but I think the most exciting things coming out of Italy right now are from these smaller producers who are taking care of the land in different ways, or doing something different with indigenous varieties and breathing new life into Italian wine.”
Cocktails will be lighter in alcohol by volume, in addition to some zero-proof options, with an emphasis on aperitivi. Jupiter is also focusing on vermouth, and will serve its own house blend of white vermouth that will be included in the cocktails or served on the rocks.
8. Expect a lot of incredible pastas.
Pastas are the centerpiece of the all-day menu at Jupiter — there are eight total on the menu, half of which are extruded and half of which are made by hand in the pasta production kitchen located just beneath the restaurant. The pasta at Jupiter will possess the same silky, thin, and supple texture you’ve come to expect at King, says Shadbolt, and the team is keeping the pastas classically Italian, too.
“We’re not trying to reinvent anything — they’re [dishes] that typically might have lost their way a bit on their way to the United States, and might be done a little bit differently,” says Herbert. In other words, don’t expect anything like fusion pasta when you come to Jupiter.
9. Staff favorites include …
… in no particular order:
• The Callisto Spritz made with vodka, quince, bitter lemon, and tonic
• The Jupiter Vesper with gin, vodka, fig leaf, white vermouth, and lemon
• Bruschetta di granchio e puntarelle, a crab toast with puntarelle and aioli
• Paccheri verdi con sugo di maiale, with slow-cooked pork shoulder, sage and lemon
• Tagliarini al pomodoro made with preserved tomato and topped with ricotta salata
• Pizzocheri, consisting of baked buckwheat pasta with Fontina, savoy cabbage, and potato
• Alfabeto in brodo (Do note: The pasta shapes spell out Jupiter)
• Risotto di mare with Nano Vialone cooked in prosecco with saffron, langoustine, squid, scallops, and clams
• Olive oil cake, a favorite from King’s lunch service that was axed during the pandemic
• Gelato Napolitano
10. Drop by (almost) anytime.
Most of all, de Boer, Shi, and Shadbolt hope that diners will think of Jupiter as their go-to whenever they find themselves in Midtown, whether for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It’s opening with lunch and dinner to start but will offer breakfast service soon, too.