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Balthazar Recs

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My wife and I are going to Balthazar in a few days to use a gift certificate. Neither of us have been there before and I can't think that either of us will make a habit of going there since we've never seen fit to go in the first place. It's not in my favorite part of town and it's not my favorite kind of restaurant. All that aside, can anyone recommend from experience some of the better options on the menu? I was really hoping that it would be a cold night perfect for stick-to-your-ribs French food but it doesn't appear to be in the offing. Has anyone had the Thursday special: Cailles Farcis? Thanks for the help!

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  1. I love Balthazar. I can't imagine being disappointed there. The food's great and the room is both cozy and full of energy. There've been tons of posts about it, why not read some of them and see what people have recommended?
    http://www.chowhound.com/search/std?q...

    1. Steak Frites. Tarte Tatin. Plateau Au Fruits De Mer.

      1. Recently had the fettucini in a wonderful sauce with mushrooms. Yum. And the salad with beets and nuts was also delicious. For desert, we tried the meringue with berries, which was different and good. Everyone else seemed to be eating oysters.

        1. One of my favorite meals there is sharing the Plateau followed by the appetizer sized Steak Tartare with frites. The profiteroles are delicious. By the way, the wines by the carafe are pretty decent and reasonable.

          1. I, too, love Balthazar, and have been a regular since it opened. They opened their doors to me on 9/12, which I will never forget. I only got a cup of coffee, but it didn't matter. Had lunch there on 9/13, one of about fifteen people in the room.

            My favs there are the Duck Shepherd's Pie. Really is delicious, not a heaping amount, which is also nice, and served in a hot cast iron dish.

            I find the plateau to be a bit pretentious but I often have the oysters, which are always good. I have always liked the fish, particularly the Friday special of Bouillabaise, but I haven't had the Quail. Sounds delicious, and the do have a way with roasting, so they sound delicious.

            For dessert, big thumbs up for the profiteroles with chocolate sauce. Or their tart of the day, from their own bakery. But I often just finish with a glass of champagne.

            In spite of yourself, you're going to have a grand time!

            - Sean

            1. I actually love their breakfast/brunch foods (though it's usually fairly crowded then for a weekend brunch). They have a delicious and hearty brioche french toast and their breads are all wonderful (some a bit on the sweet side).

              1 Reply
              1. re: chowNYC

                As big a Balthazar fan as I am, I find their bread basket to be underwhelming, and I've never liked their croissants.

              2. I love their tuna nicoise salad. It's perfect.

                1. Ditto on loving Balthazar. I like to eat at the bar - the bartenders are great - some of my favorite smaller plates to have at bar -- oysters w/ champagne, steak tartare and frites, cheese plate. Everything is pretty good and atmosphere is fun.

                  1. Hi all, I stopped by for the first time last weekend and you needed a shoehorn to get in.. any tips on best time to go? regards and thanks!

                    1. It gets pretty busy in December, and can be a zoo at peak times, particularly at the bar and around the door.

                      If you're walking in for lunch, the best time is between 12.00 and 12.30. You should be fine. I remember once seeing a woman's very disgruntled reaction when told to expect a seating at 4.00pm. But this was on Christmas Eve!

                      The bar scene can get a bit nuts, but around 6.00pm is usually a good time to be guaranteed a seat. By 6.30, it's jammed.

                      Dinner reservations are usually pretty ok a day or two in advance, as long as you're not looking for a six-top at 8.30 on a weekend night. Not sure about walk-ins at this time of year, because I always take the precaution of booking ahead.

                      - Sean

                      1. I love it too. I had a mixed grill once that knocked me out. Just order what sounds good and it will be!

                        1. I sit at the bar, order a stoli martini up with olives or occasionally a glass of red wine (a Saint Emilion maybe). I love the bread basket followed by the onion soup which is the best in the United States. For dessert order either a dozen oysters or the steak tartare. Bon appetit!