Say Hello to Margot, Fort Greene’s Newest French Restaurant
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 restaurants.
It was over the course of a three-hour dinner at King that three soon-to-be restaurateurs decided what kind of restaurant Margot would be. The new opening in Fort Greene by Halley Chambers, Kip Green, and famed Parisian chef Alexia Duchêne, anchored by a playful à la carte menu and a deep sense of hospitality, opens its doors on May 4th, and you best act quickly — we think it’s very likely going to be a new favorite restaurant for many New Yorkers.
Here’s everything you need to know about Margot, from the newly minted and aptly named Three Top Hospitality team, before you go.
1. Margot is helmed by three rising stars in the industry.
You may remember chef Alexia Duchêne, who was last seen here cooking in Greenpoint, when she headlined an impressive chef residency at Fulgurances back in early 2022. The rising star chef from Paris not only counts Frenchie in London, Studio and Restaurant AOC in Copenhagen, and Allard in Paris on her résumé, but also a closely watched run on France’s “Top Chef” when she was just 23.
Duchêne was always drawn to New York since she was a kid, and dreamed of one day opening a restaurant in the city. That day came sooner than she ever expected when she was put in touch with Halley Chambers and Kip Green, two names you may know if you’re entrenched in the Brooklyn restaurant scene.
Chambers was the director of the Oberon Group after all, overseeing Brooklyn darlings June, Rhodora, and Rucola, before she and Green started dreaming of what would become Three Top Hospitality. The former is where the pair met, when Green was a beverage director at June, before she went on to work at fine dining institutions Aska and Eleven Madison Park, before returning to Cobble Hill’s favorite wine bar.
“We immediately bonded over a shared sense of hospitality,” says Chambers. “When we think about what hospitality means to us, it’s a lot about graciousness and creating joyful experiences for the people who walk in our door.”
This spoke to Duchêne, too, who, after an initial meeting on Zoom, flew out to New York for a tasting that properly wowed Chambers and Green. They further discussed their ambitions over that long dinner at King, a restaurant all three women hold in high esteem (and fittingly, a restaurant run by a trio of women, too).
2. So, who’s Margot and what’s she like?
Take note that Margot is no person’s cherished aunt or grandma — she’s a bona-fide fictionalized lady, the team’s inspiration and fearless leader who holds court over the corner of Lafayette Avenue and South Elliott Place, right off the Fulton G stop in Fort Greene.
Margot aims to be that ideal of a neighborhood restaurant, with an à la carte menu designed to be unfussy, unpretentious, and approachable, says Duchêne, without sacrificing creativity. “I want to get people out of their comfort zone … but when you taste [the food], you don’t feel weird about it,” she says.
“Alexia really pushed us to say we can accomplish everything we want to in being a neighborhood restaurant that feels all that joy and whimsy and creativity, but really punches above its weight in food,” says Chambers. “And that doesn’t mean sacrificing accessibility. It just means that we can be really, really excellent.”
The menu will lean heavily into vegetables and responsibly caught seafood, with produce sourced as locally as possible. Duchêne will bring the mighty force of her kitchen background in the shape of excellent sauces (the bedrock of French cuisine), handmade pastas (the menu will always count two pastas on the menu — one more typical, the other a bit less traditional — Duchêne worked at Italian gem Passerini in Paris for some time, and Green is already psyched to eat pasta at Margot’s bar as a solo diner in the very near future), and a playful dessert program.
To get a sense of Duchêne’s sauce game, the team points to a sweet potato and asparagus dish that’ll come with a honey Champagne sauce and a halibut with vin jaune sauce. There’s also a pork necks and crab dumpling dish, in which the wrappers are replaced by chard leaves, sauced in a tamarind soubise and pork jus. Duchêne is also excited about having one big, shared plate on the menu — the opening candidate will be lamb saddle with the loin and belly prepared two different ways.
On the sweet side, expect rotating sundaes that’ll veer into sorbets as the weather gets warmer (for now, there’s a grilled vanilla sundae with miso fudge and peanuts) and a chocolate tart with maitake mushroom ice cream.
“I love vegetables and dessert,” says Duchêne. “I really want to do a watercress sundae, something crazy fun.”
If you can’t imagine vegetables in your desserts, well … Let’s just say Margot’s not stopping there.
3. And what does Margot like to drink?
The main focus of the beverage program, and also Green’s area of expertise, is on natural wines. “It’s such an inclusive community,” says Green, and the list here, starting with about 70 labels, will veer toward a younger generation of producers who are “championing different varietals and doing something perhaps a little bit different than the status quo,” she says. Green mentions Italy’s Alessandra Divella, the Mosse family in the Loire, Domaine Rougeot in Burgundy, and California’s Ruth Lewandowski, “people who are coming from more storied regions, but have definitely done something a little bit out of the norm.”
On the cocktail front, the team worked with Eleven Madison Park bar manager Kat Foster on a batch of culinary-driven drinks, designed to pair, like the wines, with Duchêne’s food. But it goes beyond simply pairing: the kitchen and bar will be working in tandem. What is a byproduct from the kitchen could become an ingredient in a cocktail, and vice versa. Hence: perhaps drinking your vegetables.
“When I think about beverage, I’m actively thinking about how things are going to feel in the glass next to Alexia’s food,” says Green. “What can we utilize with [what] the kitchen isn’t using? How can we work together to make sure that we’re using everything that we’re receiving from these farms?”
“It’s important for us to all work together and have this real bond and comprehensibility of each other’s jobs,” says Duchêne. “I feel like the disconnect between front of house and back of house is quite present, and that’s what we don’t want to replicate here.”
4. Margot wants to go beyond the limits of a traditional restaurant.
Chambers is quick to point out that founding a hospitality group when you’ve only just begun to bring one restaurant to life may be unusual. But for the team, it’s essential to what they seek to accomplish.
“I think it’s really integral to our business model that we exist out of the four walls of a restaurant space,” says Chambers of Three Top. “The ultimate goal is to create an ecosystem of projects that really speak to one another.”
For Margot, that’ll translate to its upstairs space (“a construction zone right now,” jokes Chambers), which will one day hold all the community programming Three Top wants to pursue — things like educational workshops and events around wine, food, and sustainability in those two landscapes.
“Accessibility really is kind of the name of the game,” says Chambers. “Not everyone is going to be able to dine [with us], both capacity-wise and budget-wise. And so, by incorporating community programming that’s free, that kind of lessens the barrier to entry that most traditional restaurants.”
For now, the team is excited to introduce Margot to the Fort Greene community.
“Fort Greene has been some kind of home to both Kip and I for a long time, and I just really love the neighborhood,” says Chambers. “We’ve met our neighbors and have a dialogue with everyone. That’s kind of the dream to me: to be firmly rooted in your community.”
Margot is open daily for dinner, from 5 to 10 p.m. Weekend lunch will debut later this summer.
Noëmie Carrant is Resy’s senior writer. Follow her on Instagram. Follow Resy on Instagram and Twitter, too.