It’s been six years since King opened in lower Manhattan, on King Street and Sixth Avenue, and in that time it’s become a destination restaurant for the in-the-know crowd. Naturally, the trio behind the magic — chefs Jess Shadbolt and Clare de Boer, and co-owner and beverage director Annie Shi — have been approached about a second restaurant over the years, but they weren’t tempted until the rebirth of Rockefeller Center concept.
Now, they present Jupiter, which joins other restaurants from downtown chefs like Le Rock (by the Frenchette team) and Lodi (of the Corner Bistro and Altro Paridso family) in the making-Midtown-cool mission.
On a recent afternoon, Shadbolt and de Boer had just finished a busy lunch shift, and are taking it all in.
“We were somewhat approached, but we were never really on the hunt,” Shadbolt says of opening a second restaurant. “The nature of King was that we were so involved — still are — from day one. It was very much a place for us to be, and there was no desire to consider anything else. And then as the years passed, we realized that we were harnessing and growing this team. They needed us to get out of the kitchen, and Annie to get off the floor so that they could spread their wings. So that’s when our noses kind of came away from the page a little bit to consider what might be next. And we knew it’d never be another King because King is very unique.”
Whereas King is known for its small size — both in the intimate space and the edited, rotating daily menu — Jupiter is the team’s chance to spread out a bit. At King, they offer one pasta a day, while Jupiter takes a more focused Italian lens and offers a whole pasta section.
“We didn’t want to do anything crazy,” says de Boer. “This is a classic Italian pasta restaurant. We’ve got eight fresh pastas on the menu and a risotto. And we are not a specific region of Italy; we encompass the entire country in terms of where we’re drawing these dishes from. None of these are new creations. None of them are ours. These are some of our favorite classic dishes. So as kind of modern and funky as the space is, the food is very, very classic and elegant.”
“Basically everything we’d want to eat at an Italian restaurant,” Shadbolt says.
That means things like zucchini fritti, crab toast with fennel, Venetian seafood risotto, artichokes alla giudia, agnoli stuffed with slow-cooked rabbit, alphabet pasta in brodo and Neapolitan ice cream. Recognizing their prime location near the theater district, they’ll also offer an off-menu spaghetti carbonara, served weeknights after 9:30 p.m. for the post-Broadway crowd.
Now officially open, Jupiter is set to draw the same fashion crowd who have made King a success, be that in between work and theater or after some holiday shopping.
“What I appreciate is you don’t have to think too hard about the menu,” says Shi of Shadbolt and de Boer’s approach. “Because it is simple and because it is classic, it’s kind of timeless. And I think that it feels, especially to people in the fashion and art world, that kind of classicism is something that people appreciate.”