TIO NYC: Le District & Max McCalman
Max is a Really Big Cheese in the world of food and beverages
A dedicated scholar and world-renowned cheese expert, award-winning author, and highly visible advocate for artisanal cheese production, Max travels the world as consultant to the trade, judges at cheese competitions, and is a frequent guest lecturer. He also leads gourmet tours, “Cheese Journeys,” the most recent in eastern France.
At Wine Fest, Max led a cheese and wine pairing intensive, where he was assisted by daughter Scarlett, the head fromager (cheese monger, at only 23) at Le District, a vast food hall – 30,000 square feet in Brookfield Place (also chockablock with uber chic – read spendy– bragging brand boutiques) – in Lower Manhattan’s financial district (where Scarlett, an artist, also creates minimalist graphics for the sprawling venue.)
Think Eataly, but with a French accent, Le District is a giant food playground featuring restaurants large and small; a florist; a garden district that sells groceries and prepared foods; a market district, which features all the makings of a meal to take home or eat on the spot: fresh seafood, breads, charcuteries, wine, meats, rotisseries, pastries and, bien sur, cheese.
We met Max at Le District’s grand restaurant, Beaubourg, a beautifully appointed watering hole tricked out with an expansive bar, butter-yellow banquettes, an Art Nouveau ceiling, and a wall of windows offering spectacular views of the Hudson River and, no kidding, New Jersey. (There are also hundreds of seats outside.)
Beaubourg’s menu features classics such as steak or mussels with french fries (frittes), perfectly dressed salads, oysters, and the fresh catch of the day. (Arctic char over a bed of ratatouille was on Thursday’s menu.)
And, of course, a cheese platter, our dessert spread the handiwork of Scarlett McCalman, as follows:
Bonde d’Antan, a goat’s milk cheese from the Loire Valley of western France.
Tomme Chabrin, an aged goat’s milk cheese from the Pyrénées.
Delice de Bourgogne, a bloomy rind cow’s milk cheese from Burgundy.
Dorset, a wash rind raw cow milk cheese from Consider Bardwell in Vermont.
Le Cousin, an alpine style of cow milk cheese from Switzerland.
Fourme d’Ambert, a blue cow milk cheese from south central France’s Auvergne.
The pairing? Max chose a sparkling wine from the Loire.
Au revoir to sour memories of the World Financial Center.
When Brookfield Office Properties spent a quarter-billion dollars to hip up the WFC, turning it into Brookfield Place, it put food first — and Le District proudly marches the tricolore into the night-and-day party.
The French-themed marketplace and noshing complex sprawls across 30,000 square feet beneath Hudson Eats, the high-end, grab-and-go floor in the tower, which was previously called 2 World Financial Center.
But unlike Hudson Eats, where spots like Umami Burger and Blue Ribbon Sushi are individually leased, all of Le District is run by one company, HPH — not French, but the local team led by Peter Poulakakos and Paul Lamas that owns 10-odd eateries downtown, including iconic Harry’s, and also manages the Financier Patisserie chain…
A modern dance performance, the Soaking Wet series, at the local West End Theatre located in St. Paul/St. Andrew’s church, 263 West 86th Street, completed our day. Worth checking out for other shows at the venue.
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