Sprawling classic French in a modern Upper East Side setting

By Jasmine Moy

The beauty of Vaucluse is how effortless it makes being beautiful seem. At this spacious, elegant restaurant on the Upper East Side, Michael White and his team have made the synthesis of slyly elevated plates and comfortable service look downright easy.

White’s dishes wow you while simultaneously offering a surprisingly familiar point of reference. Take the leek salad, for example—a plate that sometimes comes off a bit, well, too rustic. Here it’s cooked to a silken perfection, packed with tapenade with a hint of anchovy, improbably sliced into a neat disk, and topped with toasted almond and a pickled mustard seed viniagrette.
The standards are well respected: Vaucluse serves a textbook steak tartare, and a caramelized onion tart with pastry that’s perfectly buttery, which means you might be tempted by the steak frites—but wait. Vaucluse is too chic to brag, but we have to insist you try the burger. Aged beef sits between brioche halves that have been spread with a tart tomato jam on one side and a mustardy Dijonnaise on the other, a slice of fontina just melted over the sides. Every time it arrives, it looks like it was created just to be photographed—until you taste it, and then realize that yes, it was actually made to be devoured.

The citron parfait, with cold cream giving way to tart custard to crispy brown butter sable shortbread, is just the kind of thing you’d expect by now—seemingly just thrown together, but secretly a showstopper of contrasting flavors, textures, and temperatures.


Dinner: Mon–Thu 5:30 PM–10 PM; Fri–Sat 5 PM–10:30 PM; Sun 5:30 PM–9:30 PM
Lunch: Mon–Fri noon–2:30 PM
Brunch: Sunday 11:30 AM–2:30 PM

price range

$21 (escargot) to $32 (steak frite)