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Beginner's French Cuisine?

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Alas, my girlfriend does not have the same desire to try new things that I do. I wanted to take her to Eleven Madison Park in a few weeks and she denied, saying the food seemed to 'fancy' for her. I simply think its an ignorance of certain contemporary cuisines in general.

Are there any restaurants in NYC that are not as upscale as EMP or Daniel but still produce high-quality French food, similar to those in the above referenced restaurants? I want to make her feel comfortable with these new foods before she is thrown into a setting such as EMP.

Anyway...I have reservations for two at EMP, anybody care to join? ;-)

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  1. Hey Foodie,
    How beginner are we talking? Beyond French onion soup?

    2 Replies
    1. re: LeahBaila

      I think french toast and french onion soup are already taken care of, lol.

      Things like foie gras, quail, squab, rabbit, duck confit.

      1. re: foodieforthought

        I like tautog's idea of bistro/brasserie fare. Start slow...Balthazar, Sel et Poivre (sp?), Lucien (though the last time I went, the sea bass was extra "fishy" tasting...not very fresh)

    2. A bistro or brasserie like Balthazar would be less formal and have simpler food.

      1. Le Gigot or A.O.C. Bedford, which bills itself as "European".

        1. Bistro les Amis, corner of Spring & Thompson Streets. Unpretentious, accessible French fare with a very casual atmosphere.

          menupages link: http://menupages.com/restaurantdetail...

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          Bistro Les Amis
          180 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

          1. If you want high quality french food without too much fuss, you can try Fleur de Sel. I consider it as very high quality but not as "fussy" in terms of presentation (though they are still very pretty on plates), and the restaurant itself is homey and intimate. The price tag is not much cheaper than EMP, about $80 for 3 courses.

            HOWEVER, I recommend to start off with their bargain 3-course prix-fixe lunch at $30ish (lower actually). I think it is an excellent way to introduce your gf to high end French dining without the high price tag!

            1. Try L'Ecole, the restaurant of the French Culinary Academy. They're learning how to cook it, your girlfriend can learn how to enjoy it. Plus, it's excellent food.

              1. Capsouto Freres, in Tribeca, have a number of the dishes that you mentioned. They have good French food. It's a low key and comfortable place to dine.

                1. i'll take over your gf place.

                  I love Bouley. IMO, I always believe you should start off right. L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon is casual. You can dine at the bar.