Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Chanterelle Cookbook

The gallery anteroom

Marisol menu cover--where it all started

Cindy Sherman menu cover, 1989

Cy Twombly menu cover, 1980

Robert Rauschenberg menu cover, 2004

Lousie Nevelson menu cover, 1986

Roy Lichtenstein menu cover, 1990

Ellsworth Kelly menu cover

Merce Cunnigham menu cover

Jennifer Bartlett menu cover

James Brown menu cover

Since today is my husband's birthday, I thought I would post about something that will always remind me of him and our first year of marriage.  On our first wedding anniversary, my husband flew me to New York City to dine at the restaurant classic, Chanterelle.  Although the dinner itself was the most exquisite, elegant and delicious meal I have had to date, he decided Chanterelle would be the perfect spot for our anniversary date for a different reason--their menu covers.

Chanterelle, owned by husband and wife team Karen and David Waltuck, opened in 1979 to great acclaim.  With David as the expert chef and Karen as the ultimate hostess, the restaurant was quickly touted as one of New York's best with the help of one very personal touch.  Since the two felt that art on the walls would draw the diner's eyes up and away from their meal, the couple began to commission contemporary American artists to paint their menu covers.  The first had a print by renowned TriBeCa-based sculptor, Marisol.  Since then, they have featured works by the likes of Roy Lichtenstein, Cy Twombly, Jennifer Bartlett, and Ellsworth Kelly, to name a few.  Changing the menu cover twice a year, the appearance of a new featured work has become something that guests inevitably anticipate.  The "retired" menu covers are each framed and hang in a small gallery anteroom where guests are seated as they wait for their tables.  

The menu covers are breathtaking and some of the pieces featured have even become famous works of art.  I have included many examples above, but you can see the entire collection here.

This holiday season, I received the new Chanterelle cookbook (also pictured above) from my husband, which shares the history of this fantastic New York mainstay.  For David and Karen Waltuck, art has become a part of their business, which they gladly embrace.  I strongly encourage you, the next time you visit New York City, to make a reservation at Chanterelle and make sure that you pay close attention to the menu cover (and your hand written receipt) which will likely feature the work of a noteworthy contemporary artist.  Oh, and the food is pretty good too!


Christopher said...

Thanks for posting rhe menu covers. I had read about them earlier this week and was looking for them!

Laura said...

Happy Birthday to Scott! That trip sounds a little hard to top! Wish I'd been able to come by with Trey this week...

hmstrjam said...

I love all of these! great selections!