- Jeremy Osner May 18, 1998 02:09 PM
For my birthday today I treated myself to an expensive
lunch, at Les Halles on Park Ave. The mussels were
excellent, and I enjoyed the pate (which I have never
eaten before, so I can't really rate it.) The service I
could go either way on -- sometimes it was hard to tell
whether the waitress was being solicitous or hurrying
me, like when she asked whether I was done eating
_right_ after I had finished eating... Seating was
cramped but I don't have a problem with that; one of
the reasons I go to restaurants is to listen to other
I recently dined at Les Halles and was disappointed. I love the paris butcher shop look, especially seeing the beautiful meats behind glass. The meal and service however were not so good. I ordered the steak frites, and the steak was leathery and flavorless. The fries were OK, but I have had better. My friend ordered a steak well done, and it took the kitchen THREE times to get it right. The waitress never apologized. We also felt like we were being rushed throughout our meal.
The bad thing for restauranteurs in NY is that there are so many great places to eat in this city, that if a customer has one bad (or even mediocre) experience in their restaurant, they may never come back. Thus, even though my meal was not a complete disaster, the chances of me returning to Les Halles on my own volition are small to none.
Les Halles isn't just a butcher, it's also
butch, possibly the manliest French restaurant
in America. It has perfect blood sausage, gory
without being gooey, if you know what I mean,
and simple, masculine, dressed salads.
The wine list is horrible, but horrible in kind
of a great way--red Puligny, kick-in-the-teeth
Beaujolais--and the service is gruff in the
Parisian ``eet ees not posseee-bluh'' manner
rather than the approved NY steakhouse kiss-off.
And it's the best place I know to eavesdrop
on Manhattan women slagging their boyfriends
as they rip into dripping, blood-rare hanger
steaks with fries. Anything else is just meat.
re: jonathan gold
What a coincidence; I recently went back to Les Halles after a 3 year absence. And, yes, the blood sausage is still great. But much else has gone downhill, the steak was good but not great. A friend got the duck confit salad and the confit was inedible. Also, I hate the way they put the salad on the same plate as the steak. If you want butch meat, try Pampas at 97th and Amsterdam. Its argentinian and quite robust.
re: deborah pastor
I love Les Halles, and its sister--make that
brother--restaurant Le Marais, which features the
finest Kosher meats I've ever had.
At Les Halles, try Sunday brunch (get there by noon if
you want peace & quiet). The prix fixe is around $13
and includes appetizer and entree, which comes with
salad and, in my considered opinion, the best French
fries in town. Try their steak tartare, usually made
tableside to your specifications. The meat is certainly
fresh enough to trust raw. As for the staff, I've
always had extremely pleasant service, even during busy
dinner hours. And yeah, it's all very butch, which is
fine by me.