Watch our exclusive video for a first-time peek inside the Skybox, the private dining room overlooking the kitchen at Restaurant DANIEL.
Step into the revolving front door of Daniel, Chef Daniel Boulud's flagship fine-dining restaurant, walk through the magnificent dining room and behind a wall of wine bottles, and you'll end up in the kitchen -- the "central nerve" of the restaurant, as Chef Boulud describes it. It is bustling with prep cooks and pastry chefs, who stay busy trimming asparagus and piping ganache. And inside the kitchen, at the top of a short, very steep staircase, is the Skybox.
The Skybox is the private dining room at Daniel, directly adjacent to his personal office. Think of it as the ultimate chef's table. It's a tiny space, just big enough for a plush four-person booth and a shelf of tchotchkes pressed against the wall. The walls themselves are covered with framed photos of familiar faces: Nicole Kidman, Barack Obama, and Woody Allen, many of them posing with Chef Boulud. It's impossible not to notice a giant red sneaker, a souvenir once worn by Shaquille O'Neal. Most importantly, the Skybox overlooks the kitchen, offering a rare insight into the inner workings of one of the world's best restaurants.
The origins of the Skybox are both practical and personal. Chef Boulud transformed it into a seating area to make the most of New York's expensive square footage, and initially the table was reserved for charity auctions: a unique experience to raise money for Citymeals-on-Wheels. Once the secret was out, the Skybox became one of the city's most coveted -- and most exclusive -- tables.
Guests love the Skybox for the once-in-a-lifetime dining experience, but the chefs love it just as much for the opportunity to create artful dishes and elaborate tasting menus that wow those who enjoy them. Executive Chef Jean-François Bruel and Executive Pastry Chef Ghaya Oliveira, along with the front-of-house team, view dinner in the Skybox as the height of culinary art, hospitality, and service.
We were honored and thrilled to visit Restaurant Daniel and capture this insider's look into the Skybox -- the very first time it's ever been caught on film. Watch the video above to explore the space, meet the Daniel team, and learn what it means to give great hospitality, straight from Chef Boulud himself.