Two new French restaurants, La Bastide by Andrea Calstier and Cenadou, to open at site of former Vox restaurant in North Salem
It’s been nearly three years since the former Vox restaurant in North Salem closed, but the scent of French cooking will once again be wafting through the air when two new dining concepts–La Bastide by Andrea Calstier and Cenadou–open in the renovated space in the coming months.
La Bastide by Andrea Calstier will operate as a fine dining establishment and Cenadou as a more casual bistro. Both will be run by French husband-and-wife team Andrea Calstier and Elena Oliver, high school sweethearts who grew up in Marseille, France. The couple have already built up an impressive resume, having worked in Michelin-starred restaurants in France and New York City before opening their own restaurant, Papilles, in Manhattan’s East Village before they turned 25. Now the restaurateurs hope their latest project–backed by North Salem resident Elizabeth Miller, who purchased the property after Vox closed–will become one of the most sought-after dining destinations in northern Westchester.
Calstier and Oliver’s story–both personally and professionally–is one defined by relentless hard work paired with moments of serendipity. They met in high school; Calstier was 16 and Oliver 15. Both say it was love at first sight. That same year, Calstier began working in the restaurant industry. As a teenager, he had the opportunity to work for more than one Michelin-starred restaurant in France. He worked alongside Emmanuel Hebrart at L’Abbaye de La Bussiere and Christophe Bacquié at restaurant Christophe Bacquié. Perhaps his most fateful professional experience, though, came when he began working under world-renowned chef Daniel Boulud. That connection, formed in France, is what ultimately led Calstier and Oliver to North Salem.
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Coming to America
In 2017, Boulud gave Calstier the opportunity to move to the United States to work for his flagship restaurant, Daniel. “Daniel has always been supportive and we still have a great relationship with him,” Calstier said. It was Boulud who introduced Calstier and Oliver to Miller, who was seeking the right chef(s) to execute on the vision she had for an elegant new dining experience in North Salem.
“Elizabeth really liked Vox, and has a very special connection with the food and wine industry,” Calstier said. “She saw an opportunity to create a special place for the community, and being able to bring people together again in this place.”
At the time Miller met Calstier and Oliver, the couple were running their own small restaurant in Manhattan’s East Village. Papilles had a 5-star rating on Yelp and received positive reviews from New York City culture sites such as Cool Hunting and The Infatuation. “[Papilles] was a good first step for us,” Oliver said. “For any restaurateur, making it in New York City is a goal. For us, coming from France, we were very proud. It was a great restaurant and we had amazing customers.”
Calstier and Oliver were filling tables at their small restaurant and they had a loyal customer base. But, they operated in cramped quarters and had very little opportunity to escape the city. The couple had always dreamed of someday opening a larger restaurant in a more rural setting, though they had figured they would need to move back to Provence to do that. Connecting with Miller afforded them an opportunity to consider that they may be able to achieve their dream sooner, and here, in the U.S.
“Then, the ball was rolling,” Oliver said.
Two restaurants, one space
From the time they met, Calstier and Oliver had spent a lot of time talking–and dreaming–with each other about what they wanted to create as their careers evolved along with their life together. Calstier’s entire young career had been in critically acclaimed restaurants, but he also had an affinity for a more casual type of cuisine, the type that brings people together and invites sharing. The space in North Salem was big enough to accommodate both. And, it was geographically closer to the food they would want to source. “For us, it’s always been about farm to table. That’s the way we grew up,” Oliver said. “This makes so much sense here when we are in direct contact with the producers.”
La Bastide by Andrea Calstier
Calstier will be the head chef and face of La Bastide by Andrea Calstier, a fine dining establishment. In English, ‘la bastide’ means ‘country house,’ an appropriate homage to the space the restaurant will occupy, tucked in a quiet residential corner of North Salem where Route 121 meets Route 116. Guests can expect a seasonally-driven tasting menu that will evolve with what’s available from local farmers. While Calstier wouldn’t reveal specific dishes, he did say the menu will be largely informed by the freshest regional offerings. As often as every two weeks, diners may find a new course or a new canapé on the tasting menu.
“When you go to a fine dining restaurant, you want to discover recipes, techniques and flavors,” Oliver said. “Andrea is really passionate about what he’s doing and is always trying to make the dish the best it can possibly be. If you’re really into food and preparation, you will have an amazing experience because it will be slightly different each time; you’ll always come and discover new things.”
Calstier is especially excited about the restaurant’s open kitchen layout, which will allow him to experience diners’ reactions to his cooking. “As a chef, when you have something new on the menu, you love to see people’s reaction. With the open kitchen, customers will be able to see us and we’ll be able to see them,” he said.
Cenadou is a Provençal word that loosely means ‘get together’ - a place where people spend time with family and friends. “That’s exactly what we want to create in terms of mood and ambience; it will be a destination,” Oliver said. The menu promises to have something for everyone, while always changing along with the seasons.
Oliver will focus most of her time on managing the day-to-day operations of Cenadou. “I’m more attracted to the bistro ambience and service,” she said. “This,” she said, referring to running two restaurants in one building, “is perfect for us because we can both evolve in an environment that we like best.”
Calstier and Oliver are thrilled that the construction stage is nearing completion, though they acknowledged there is still critical work to be done before the restaurants can open for diners. “Finding a good team and training them, this is what’s going to take time,” Oliver said.
The couple acknowledged the pressure they feel to open, but they are committed to opening ‘right’ versus opening fast. “Opening in Manhattan is a bit different; people come and go,” Oliver said. “Here, we are entering a community. We just do not want to disappoint.”
Between now and the anticipated opening at the end of the year, Calstier and Oliver will be hiring and training the people who they will work alongside. “A restaurant is nothing without your team. You want them to be as motivated as you are – they are sharing our food and our project and our vision with the customers. I’m excited to create a little family here,” Oliver said.
This article was updated from an earlier version.
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