Left Bank, an upscale French bistro in New York City, has launched a virtual restaurant within its four walls to focus on takeout and delivery of the restaurant’s signature chicken.
Poulet Sans Tête, French for “headless chicken,” opened for business on Thursday, delivering a limited menu of rotisserie chicken ($21 for a whole bird, $14 for half, $8 for a breast and $7 for a leg), along with a single sandwich offering of a $14 chicken bánh mì, and a $14 tricolor salad with chicken, beets, radishes, cucumber and chickpeas. Additionally, sides such as potatoes cooked in chicken drippings, chicken liver pâté, side salads and vegetables, condiments and three desserts are available.
“We see this as an online-only business,” said Laurence Edelman, chef-owner of Left Bank and Poulet Sans Tête. Guests order from pouletsanstete.com and the restaurant will deliver the food.
Of course guests can also call Left Bank and order food, he said, but “generally this business lives online.”
Edelman added a rotisserie to the restaurant for the new business — for Left Bank, he pan-sears and roasts the chicken.
“I’ve always really loved rotisserie chicken,” he said. “I wanted to do something new, and I thought this would be a really good adventure.”
As for the name, “For weeks I'd been racking my brain to think of a name,” Edelman said. “I asked my French friend what she would call a rotisserie chicken restaurant and without skipping a beat she said, 'Poulet Sans Tête,' and I knew my search was over. It so perfectly describes the opening days of our business.”
He uses the same chicken that he uses for Left Bank, which his supplier, Madani Halal Meats of the Queens neighborhood of Ozone Park, N.Y., has slaughtered to order on farms in Pennsylvania. Edelman rubs them with his own seasoning mix for about three days and then cooks them for around an hour on the rotisserie.
Left Bank is only open for dinner, but Poulet Sans Tête is open from lunch to dinner and has a chef dedicated to all the prep. Left Bank has hired a delivery service, one without a customer-facing side, to handle delivery, but Edelman said he might eventually use an aggregator such as Seamless as they manage to handle more volume.
Edelman said the site’s first order was service for 10 people this weekend, but the first order that was actually delivered was a chicken breast with sautéed Brussels sprouts and sautéed kale. It was placed 15 minutes after the site went live. The second was dinner for four people.
“So far, so good,” Edelman said. “We had to get up a little earlier, but it was a lot of fun.”
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