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Le Refuge, Rene Pujol or Pascalou for memorial dinner?

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My father died recently, and my family is gathering with his close friends the night before his memorial service to share memories and bond (there'll be about 25 of us). Frankly, he wasn't a hardcore gourmet, but he liked good classic French food and a cosy, somewhat old-fashioned French atmosphere. I've been scouting restaurants in which to stage the dinner, and have found three where the decor/coziness factor seems all right. If one had to choose between these three places, which has the best food?

And are there others I should consider? We need something cheerful, not too formal and not over-the-top expensive, and someplace with a good private space where elderlies making speeches can be heard. Thanks to all of you for any input you can give me! I don't have much time to book this, sadly.

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  1. I have been to both Le Refuge and Pascalou many times and between these two I would choose Le Refuge. I think the food is better at Le Refuge and more classic French, while Pascalou is more Asian fusion. The rooms at Le Refuge are also more pleasant especially for a large group. Pascalou is tiny and the tables are too close together.
    I am sorry for your losss.

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      1. We haven't been to Pascalou, and it's been ages since we were last at Le Refuge though I always liked the food there. We had lunch at Rene Pujol during the summer, and I think the quality of the cuisine has lost something since the Pujol family sold the restaurant to the employees. Not that it's bad. Not at all. Just not as good, in my view, as it used to be.

        Another place that I suggest you consider is a favorite of ours, La Petite Auberge. If your dad liked solidly-prepared classic French bistro cuisine and cozy, old-fashioned ambiance, then LPA is the perfect place to honor his memory. They have a private space upstairs which can accommodate a group your size.

        http://www.lapetiteaubergeny.com

        1. Thanks to both of you for the valuable feedback. I'll definitely go look at La Petite Auberge--looks pretty and like the right style, though seeing Clams Casino on the menu does slightly give me pause...

          3 Replies
          1. re: crinkle11

            Don't let that stop you! They also have shrimp cocktail on the menu. :-o We order it there very often, and it's terrific! :-))

            Honestly, I wouldn't describe LPA as pretty. But it is like a charming little inn in Britanny, which is where the two owners came from, and it hasn't changed one iota since they opened 31 years ago.

            1. re: RGR

              I wasn't as disappointed as RGR with the co-op René Pujol which I ate at about two months ago. It was my late mother's favorite place. We had her 90th birthday party there (when the Pujol family still ran it). They have a private room upstairs that, if available, I'm sure they would make available for a group of 25. It's a very nice setting for a memorial related event.

              1. re: bobjbkln

                I went there to look first, cause it was my father's favorite place too. Truth be told, the paint colors in the banquet rooms put me off--I think they were done since the purchase. Too bad, because the rooms have great bones--if they ever repaint, it'll really be a fabulous place to rent. That said, I still haven't entirely ruled Pujol out...

          2. Went to look at Petite Auberge and La Refuge yesterday. Refuge was beautiful but pricey and a little uptight. (Though they have an interesting policy: you pay a flat room fee which covers your food for no matter how many eaters! Booze/tax/tip extra of course) Petite Auberge was lovely--I'm now dying to eat there--but am on the fence about banquet room--the bar wasn't quite cozy enough for a sit-down-type cocktail hour and the banquet room might not be quite fancy enough for this special an occasion. Very inexpensive, and a good option for a different type of evening. Again, I haven't ruled it out, but am now leaning towards Orsay, which is elegant but less expensive than Refuge. I've also heard good reports on the functions they do. Ate there once and wasn't super-impressed but again, this is not entirely about the food.

            1 Reply
            1. re: crinkle11

              Thanks for reporting back about Petite Auberge, crinkle11. I've never seen the banquet room, so it was interesting to hear what you thought of it. Sorry it isn't quite what you feel is appropriate for this occasion. Do try the restaurant sometime. I think you will enjoy it. :-)