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Feb 28, 2007 10:44 AM

What happened to Gascogne?

My boyfriend and I went to Gascogne for brunch 2 weekends ago and the food was awful! I have been there for brunch before and it was wonderful. Have they changed ownership? I'm very confused because even besides the food, several smaller things were different/bad. For example, the vodka in the bloody mary wasnt very good quality and the tea at the end was also VERY poor quality (they are using a much cheaper version that when I went before). Any insight would be helpful! Thank you!

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  1. oh no! they are one of my favorite brunch spots!!! haven't been in awhile and was thinking about going this weekend....may think twice about it.

    1. its always been that way imo.

      pretty place, but overall its mediocre at best. we live nearby and never go there, we gave up long ago.

      if you want some decent average french chow close by go to LE GAMIN on w15 & 8th av instead - bring your own wine.

      1. is that the same ownership as the one in the east village? i've been meaning to try that place.....i think you just made my brunch decision! thanks.

        1. We haven't been to Gascogne in quite some time, but whenever we have been there for brunch, the food has been well-prepared and delicious. We generally go there for brunch only during the summer when we can sit in the garden, so it's probably going to be a while before we check it out again.

          1. I've had the same experience as Thunderbug 2 1/2 years ago. I used to go to Gascogne after living in Chelsea for 12 years. Last night, I went there with my husband for dinner and it was a disaster.

            First off, the girl seating us was a dope. We opted to sit in the garden, which we were told, had overhead heating. We settled in, only to find that it was still chilly after some time and the heating was poor. As we were the first diners to be seated in the garden, we asked for a table and the hostess hemmed and hawed over it, then pulled a chair away from our table to seat at another. The whole experience was simply unwelcoming and we opted to move inside.

            When the appetizers arrived, the lobster bisque proved similar to dishwater -- thin, lacking salt (and overall taste) and not a speck of lobster in sight. It was about the worst lobster bisque we ever tasted. My husband told the waiter about it, who came back later and said the chef was aware that it wasn't good! Well, that's great, but how did he let that soup go out of the kitchen in the first place? The scallop dish was much better, but it too was undersalted.

            For the main course, my husband ordered the filet mignon in foie gras sauce. Stringy and not cooked to medium rare specs, it might have been a good thing that the size of the meat was pretty skimpy, too. Compared with my quail dish, the filet was about half the size.

            The waiter was also a bit of a cheeky monkey, but in the end, they did deduct the soup from the bill, so that was a plus.

            We skipped dessert, lest we would find some other thing we didn't like...

            All in all, we're not going back to Gascogne anytime soon. A better spot for French is Le Jardin on Cleveland Street, which also has a lovely garden, much better service and the food remains delish after a long existence.

            But the question remains -- what happened to Gascogne?

            13 Replies
            1. re: SD318

              Well kids, let's go back in the time-machine to the era of 1992-1994...when Gourmet reviewed Gascogne and called it the "best storefront restaurant in Manhattan"...the chef and co-owner was Pascal Coudouy, a truly born and bred son of Gascogny...his food was generous, tremendous, and always completed by an number of vintage (or rare) Armagnacs...What happened? His partners bought him out; essentially he was fired. Why? Too liberal a hand with his portions...and so, each new iteration for the past 15 years has fitfully tried to do what he did: make the region of Gers, Auch, Condom, come alive on the plate ... So what happened recently? You can guess.

              The last time I looked him up, Coudouy as cooking in Colorado...Does anyone else have a memory of Chef Coudouy, his wife, and their savoir-faire on Eighth Avenue?

              1. re: penthouse pup

                Thanks for the explanation, PP. The merry-go-round of chefs sounds like a good reason for the inconsistencies.

                1. re: penthouse pup

                  Oh yes! I worked with Pascal Coudouy and his wife Carol many years ago. They are true professionals and filling their shoes could never be easy.

                2. re: SD318

                  I'll jump on the Gascogne-bashing bandwagon. My gf and I joined friends there for dinner recently, and although the space was lovely and the service excellent, the food just was not very good.

                  1. re: Blumie

                    Wow., thanks for the warning. I had some lovely meals there in the 90s and one v good meal there in 2002 or 3. I would prefer to keep my memories intact.

                  2. re: SD318

                    We ate Gascogne twice during the past few months -- one brunch and one lunch -- and found the food to be as delicious as it has been on all our previous visits. The garden remains one of the most charming in the city.

                    Photos of our brunch can be seen here:

                    1. re: RGR

                      Hi RGR, nice photos, but that link goes to the Nougatine photos for me. Here are your Gascogne photos:


                      1. re: thousandrobots

                        Oops! Not sure how that happend, but thanks for noticing the mistake. While the link you provided does go to a lunch we had at Gascogne, I actually meant to link to this set:


                        Oh, and thanks for the compliment! :)

                        1. re: RGR

                          nice pics, but a bowl of campbells tomato soup and they threw a can of tuna over a salad? eh. not exactly making me want to run over there again.

                          1. re: mrnyc

                            Though that soup may look like Campbell's, it had excellent gazpacho flavor.

                            Re: the tuna. While many restaurants use fresh tuna in Ni├žoise salads, canned is actually the correct way to prepare this classic.

                            1. re: mrnyc

                              I'm not one of the hounds defending Gascogne in this thread, but it's ridiculous (imho) to make any judgment based on RGR's photos.

                              1. re: Blumie

                                oh come on. there was nothing very appealing about that. it certainly proves the place is run of the mill at best. definately not worth going out of your way for, nor was it in better days in the past.

                                1. re: mrnyc

                                  If you've not been there lately, you have no basis for complaining. ;(

                                  We've enjoyed many meals and occasions at Gascogne over the years. I've not been there since summer 08, so cannot attest to the present conditions reported by OP, but I must say that I'm disheartened by the news.

                                  OTOH, times change, and things do, indeed change. The place you loved last year -- IF it's still there this year -- may only be the same on its.face. That's life.

                                  158 8th Ave, New York, NY 10011