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Bruno Jamais Restaurant Club

Originally Posted: February 15, 2006

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Bruno Jamais is the quintessential French Restauranteur with his suave good looks, charming accent and debonair demeanor. Prior to opening Bruno Jamais Restaurant and Club in 2002, the 45-year-old Parisian born Jamais was an important fixture in the culinary world as the Maitre D at restaurant Daniel. He is indebted to world-renowned chef Daniel Boulud for not only teaching him English, but also giving him the opportunity to preside over one of the country's finest venues for classic French cuisine. While at Daniel, he wielded a powerful position catering to patrons that included world leaders, society matrons, and A-list celebrities. It was during his tenure at Daniel that Jamais learned the art of 'managing the floor,' assuaging egos, and making regular clients feel special. Part of his incredible success is his understanding that, "a great Maitre' D is a good therapist." Bruno recognized that when dealing with some of the most powerful people in the world, one must meet their level of expectations. He was savvy and knew that is was essential to do his homework and keep abreast of the individuals who comprised the movers and shakers in New York. Daniel Boulud trusted Jamais because of his keen intuition and his uncanny knack for handling people and making them feel important. Bruno believes that one of the key qualities in being a successful restaurateur means, "having respect for people and having them respect you." He is pleased that many of his customers consider him a friend.

Following Restaurant Daniel, Bruno moved onto Alain Ducasse and then opened the eponymous Bruno Jamais Restaurant and Club in a beautiful 4,500 square foot townhouse on East 81st street that formerly housed Parioli Romanissimo. Bruno was well aware that to please an elite clientele, he had to deliver something extraordinary that surpassed a regular dining experience. To set the right ambiance, he enlisted renowned architect Tony Chi who combined a clubby living room style environment with the comfortable luxury of a first class dining room. The restaurant received the "Best Restaurant Design" Award by Hospitality Design Magazine for 2004. Bruno is a favorite discreet destination for luminaries such as Keanu Reeves, Former President Bill Clinton, Kim Cattral, The Gastineau Girls, and Spike Lee to name but a few. Jamais was inspired to combine a first class restaurant with a nightclub during his time at Daniel when regular customers would inquire where they could go to drink and dance without leaving the Upper East Side. Bruno sought to model the ambiance of his restaurant after those in the South of France that effortlessly combine fine food with a sexy, glamorous and fun environment. Bruno has obviously achieved his goal. Every night from Monday through Saturday after the dinner crowd has finished their meal, the restaurant transforms into a supper club with DJ music and live bands. Bruno Jamais Restaurant and Club is unique because it does not solely attract the usual twenty something crowd, nor does it aspire to. Instead, it has an eclectic mix of patrons of all ages who appreciate an atmosphere that evokes memories of the legendary Regine's nightclub.

Recently, Bruno enlisted John Keller as the new chef. Keller's formidable experience includes Nobu and Le Bernardin. Together Jamais and Keller created a twist on the menu that lent an Asian influence without losing the integrity of the French cuisine. Signature dishes include the appetizer lobster brulee, the moonfish entrée and an irresistible chocolate soufflé. Keller's philosophy is, "simple elegance without overdoing it."

The restaurant business is in Bruno's blood, working from the age of 15 in his father's restaurants in Paris and eventually moving on to other notable Parisian establishments such as Lucas Carton, and Le Doyen. Bruno Jamais Restaurant and Club was his first foray as an owner. He says that the most stressful part is, "maintaining the quality of the food and the dining experience, effectively promoting the establishment to an elite clientele, and the ever present awareness that in the cut-throat world of Manhattan dining, there is no room for mistakes."

Bruno Jamais is generous with praise of colleagues and admires the skills and successes of others in the industry. He cites legendary Sirio Macioni of Le Cirque, the business strategy of Gramercy Tavern owner Danny Meyer, and Blue Water Grill owner Steve Hanson. He also acknowledges the consistent quality of Daniel's food, and the expansion of Jean George as inspiring. During the rare nights when Bruno is not tending to his own establishment, his favorite restaurants to visit include Nobu, Café Boulud, Alain Ducasse, Le Bernardin, and La Goulue.

Future goals include a restaurant in the Hamptons as well as a downtown supper club venture. Bruno Jamais is a man who knows his business and has his finger on the pulse of Manhattan dining and nightlife.

Located in the heart of Manhattan (24 East 81st Street between Madison and 5th Avenue, New York, NY, 212-396-3444), Bruno Jamais Restaurant Club is elegant and truly sumptuous. Reservations are required. Casual Chic attire is requested. Open for dinner Monday through Saturday from 6:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. with Live Music on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday starting at 8:30 until 12:30pm. Be our guest and win a $200 gift certificate to Bruno Jamais Restaurant Club from Hamptons.com just by being a member and signing up for the Hamptons Weekly Brief. We'll post the winners here next week.

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