Cafe Luxembourg: C'mon! Even the Coffee Was Good
Where have I been? Guess I've been too damn busy eatin' at all those tony and 'chi-chi' places with the 'architectural-finger-handled' cuisine on fifteen-inch plates.
Do you want really well-prepared food with a kind wait staff in a convivial art deco Bistro? Then go to Cafe Lux (W 70th) ! Im not kidding, from the moment we entered this crowded restaurant we were dazzled by the ease with which our coats were taken and by the way we were escorted to our booth. People were having a real good time at the Bar and, for the 5 minutes or so that we waited by the door for our table , we struck-up conversation and enjoyed some laughs. Everyone in the restaurant was LAUGHING and having fun! The atmosphere was a delight and really did remind us of the tiled-clad Paris Bistros.
Son "did good" and ordered a bottle of Ravenswood, well priced for Manhattan, with a big basket of really good crusty bread and garlic butter to wet our 'buds'.
The country salad was sooooooooooo good with chunks of bacon and not bits of 'bacos' and delicately dressed with delectible bagette croutons. Son and wifey split the Lobster role with french fries (from the Bar menu) as a Starter. I mean real CHUNKS of lobster and lots of em'; not smothered in Hellman's either.
The roast duck was just so good with a crusty skin and meat so moist; this seemed as if it were an entire half of a small duckling. Of course, this well prepared meat was not alone on the platter; small chunks of beats in a balsamic reduction were placed just next to whole baby carrots wearing their tops.Wifey's Striped Bass was delicate and like velvet with son's crusted salmon unbelieveably good-tasting.
We sipped our wine and held our glasses high as diners next to us joined with "Cheers"; this was contagious as others around us enticed diners to raise their glasses throughout the evening.
The wait staff did NOT bother us but peered every so often to fill our water glasses, refill the bread basket and so on. In fact, at one point, I dropped my napkin and, VOILA, there was a waiter giving me another without a word being passed between us.
Dessert was a treat with chocolate turine ( a mousse layered between seven layers of flourless cake) and a dollop of vanila ice cream......oooooooooh! The waiter must have heard us wish Son a Happy Birthday...his crusted creme boulee was served with a lighted candle...to wit, the diners around us joined in a stanza of the world's favorite song. Even the coffee was good and it was HOT, too. Waiters didnt ask but just served us 'toppers'. The bill came to$190 with tip for three and it was a special birthday for my son as well as a delightful evening for all of us.
GO ! ENJOY !
While the food is OK, I was extremely disappointed in expecting it to taste a bit French. Their cassoulet should have been awarded a Weight Watchers trophy: even the beans were slim, no taste whatsoever of pork, lard, or bacon, the confit was some cut of meat which hadn't seen its own fat in ages, and worst of all, no presence of garlic (a forbidden herb in that neighborhood). Service was fine, good wine, convivial, but any decent place, like Josefina's nearby, would do as well, if not better.
re: Allan Evans
In a post about about Cafe Luxembourg, Clement wrote
and worst of all, no presence of garlic (a forbidden herb in that neighborhood).
I've been meaning to report on Gitara (it might be Gitana, the writing is hard to read), a tapas bar on Columbus and 71st. I am no tapas expert, but the stuff here is very tasty, and much of it is garlicky.
I've had pulpo a la gallega (octopus and potatoes and garlic sauce), anchovies (I forget the spanish name), french fries with parsley and garlic, olives, and a few other dishes. Nothing disappointed.
One note: Try not to sit in the booth that has benches on both sides; the benches are placed too far from the table, and it makes you lean over in an uncomfortable way.