Lunch Near Union Sq--A Surprising Discovery
in the last 2 months or so, i've been lucky enough to have lunch at union sq cafe 3 times, blue water grill twice and tocqueville once. while all are good, i have to say the food and overall dining experience were inversely related --am i using that expression right?--to the crowds. BWG and Tocqueville both have a $24ish prix fixe, and USC--i believe--does not. USC is always jammed and the service sometimes suffers as a result. BWG is crowded but easier to get a seat and i think the food has been slightly better.
But the big surprise was Tocqueville--empty, quiet, civilized, delicious! i am promoting it because it was so empty i worry they'll stop serving lunch or close down or something.
Tocqueville has been around for quite a while. The original location was on the same block in the space that is now occupied by 15 East, their Japanese restaurant. Though Tocqueville does tend to travel a bit under the usual radar, it has built a loyal clientele because of the many virtues you have just discovered. We haven't been there for lunch lately (we did lunch quite a few times in the old location), but we have had dinner there twice during the past few months, and business was very good. So, I don't think you need to worry that it will be closing anytime soon.
I had dinner there with a group about 2 weeks ago and I feel the same way as you Dan-it was wonderful-civilized and delicious. I do agree with RGR though that it was busy and is not in jeopardy of closing its doors. I think it is a very special place.