Why is Payard so underrated? The restaurant never seems to fill up to anywhere close to capacity. Primetime reservations are always available.
I would absolutely recommend it. I've had dinner there several times over the past few years and my feeling has always been that if you order the right things, you're in for a very strong meal. The menu IS on the small side, and it's a little inconsistent. It's one of those restaurants where a dish is either a standout or a real miss(hence the reason I say that you have to be a little choosy about what you order). I especially liked the "home made fois gras terrine." There also used to be a steak on the menu which was prepared every bit as well as any top steakhouse. Any shortcomings are made up for by the desert(get the pastry/desert tasting). The service is solid, the space is mangificent, and the prices are more than reasonable.