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Oct 4, 2006 07:01 PM

Le Veau d'Or or other traditional French?

In a couple weeks, we'll be taking one of our semi-regular trips to NYC for a weekend of excessive eating and drinking. Largely as a result of an article in Saveur that was reprinted in "The Best Food Writing 2006" I'm considering dinner at Le Veau D'Or. I recognize that it's [supposedly] an unapologetically unchanged, and likely unchangeable, throwback to an earlier time of French dining, and that's exactly what I'm looking for.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this place? The Saveur article mentioned a few other similar old-line French restos (Le Perigord, Le Biarritz, Chez Napoleon, Tout Va Bien, and La Petite Auberge ) scattered around Manhattan, so does anyone have a better suggestion for this type of dining? Ambience is far less important than the food. Thanks in advance.

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  1. I'm glad that "Saveur" mentioned La Petite Auberge because it has been a favorite of ours since it first opened almost 30 years ago. In fact, we had dinner there about two weeks ago and, as always, left feeling very satisfied.

    Year in and year out, the kitchen continues to produce solidly prepared, delicious bistro classics. Service is pleasant, and the original two owners, one of whom is always on the premises, make certain things run smoothly. The space, which resembles a little inn in Brittany (where the owners were born), hasn't changed at all over the years. The clientele does tend toward the mature age group; however, more and more younger folks have now begun to discover LPA's charms.

    Do consider giving it a try. As long as you go with proper expectations, I feel confident you will enjoy the experience.

    1. We had lunch the other day again at Le Veau d'Or and it remains a warm and friendly place for excellent French classics well presented and very reasonably priced. We've been going at least yearly for seemingly ever, and expect to continue. Recent visits have been at lunch and there have always been empty tables and therefore it has been pleasantly quiet for ease of conversation.

      1. René Pujol is a lot more classic old style French and better food than the nearby Tout Va Bien.

        1 Reply
        1. re: bobjbkln

          While Rene Pujol still offers classic dishes, the menu was updated a number of years ago to include dishes that can be described as Modern French. Nevertheless, I completely agree that the quality of the food is far better than Tout Va Bien's. Also, the surroundings are much more attractive.

        2. Though I haven't been in years, I used to go to Le Perigord a lot and always found the service delightful and the food wonderful. I went with my Dad years ago, we both ordered duck a l'orange (very old school) and they brought a whole duck, carved at tableside. Sometimes even though we paid for one dessert each, they'd give us 2 or 3! I don't know if they've revamped the menu. I hope not!

          LCB, the old Cote Basque, is pretty traditional too. So is that place on 14th just west of 7 (cant remember the name, must remember to eat there again soon) But I cant think of any places serving the classic sauces made with a roux: bearnaise, hollandaise etc. LCB sometimes has sauce nantua with quenelles... but for sauce bechamel you have to go to a Greek restaurant!!

          6 Replies
          1. re: Brian S

            Looking at the menu on Le Perigord's website, it appears that, like Rene Pujol, they've updated to include some creative French fare. But there are still classics. Example: "Canard rôti aux Fruits de Saison (Roasted Duck with Seasonal Fruits)." Though there's no indication it's a whole duck, it may very well be.

            Le Perigord does not get much comment on this or other food forums. I've never been and, for some reason, when I think of haute French restaurants in NYC, I forget that it's there. Perhaps, I should give it a try before it goes the way of so many others in that category.


            1. re: RGR

              Le Perigord has an absolutely incredible & very fairly priced wine list...wines carefully purchased by Georges (the owner) over many years....if you like wine, you should definitely give Perigord a try....

              1. re: fauchon

                Thanks for that tip. Have you been there recently? If so, how is the food?

                1. re: RGR

                  the food is good, of high quality, reliable but not exciting...this is really a classic NY French restaurant, one of the few remaining...the clientele skews rich &, ahem, mature....

                  1. re: fauchon

                    Thanks for the response. Perhaps some people find classic preparations unexciting, but we enjoy them as long as they are of high quality and well-prepared. As far as the clientele skewing "mature," see my post above re: La Petite Auberge. :-)

                    1. re: fauchon

                      Aside from a few UN delegates, their faithful clientele is drawn from the rich waterfront enclave running between 49th and 59th streets. They are the only good restaurant within walking distance. (Back in the day, Lutece was a pleasant, easy stroll away.)

            2. Perigord gets lots of UN folks, too. Remember when there was a sister place, Le Perigord Park?