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What to get at Les Halles?

Big A.B. fan - No Reservations, and his books...going to Les Halles on Park next week and pretty excited about it. Anything on the menu that's a can't-miss? (Even though I know a lot of folks on here don't like it...I'm gonna give it a go)


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    1. Bourdain hasn't been involved with Les Halles for years.

      I suggest that you get the bill, and get the door.

      1. I tried the Penne and gruyere they have at the Les Halles downtown (they call it a mac and cheese), and it was bland and kind of disappointing, so you may want to avoid that one.

        1 Reply
        1. re: shivohum

          Second the John Street location is inconsistent and should be avoided.

        2. The smoked herring appetizer is excellent, as is the choucroute, and I like the boudin noir(blood sausage) with apples. Steak tartare is also very good. I would not go there for a grilled steak, though, as they are nothing special.

          4 Replies
          1. re: rrems

            The food a Les Halles is really inconsistent -and the above poster was correct when he indicated that Bourdain has not been involved in day to day operations for years.

            That being said, they do have an excellent butcher. The rillette is fantastic and I think they have the best hanger steak in NYC.

            1. re: tbear

              I read somewhere recently that Bourdain and Eric Ripert will be manning the stoves sometime within the next two weeks for a TV taping. Could be interesting.

              1. re: tbear

                I adore Les Halles - the one on Park, I don't like the service at John Street. I usually have the cassoulet or hanger steak. I met Bourdain at one lunch at Park - probably about two years ago, he was there filming for No Reservations so he does hang around a bit.

              2. re: rrems

                Actually, I had dinner at the Park Ave location on Sunday evening and the steak au poivre was one of the best steaks in terms of both flavorful and tender meat that I've eaten in many, many years. My friend liked her boudin noir very much as well.

              3. I've been two Les Halles twice recently, and I actually dig the place. You should get Steak Frites with either the Filet (comes w/Bearnaise!) or the Rib Eye. I wouldn't go with anything other than a steak.

                Just so you are advised ahead of time: The bread sucks and has probably already been on a few tables earlier in the evening (surprise!), the escargot is tasty, but slightly overcooked, the brie w/honey & cracked pepper on a baguette doesn't come out as hot as it should be, and it's loud, you'll have a wait, and the wine by the glass is horrific, BUT....

                The steak IS fantastic, and I would wager consistent. AND...I, personally, find the atmosphere to be more bustling and lively than I do loud and crowded. My husband and I both really like this place despite the negatives, and I hope you do, too!

                2 Replies
                1. re: coleyas

                  The bread at the Park St. location. I've always found the bread at John St. to be great and has a wonderful chew to it, never dried out.

                  1. re: coleyas

                    Did you try the mussels? They used to be pretty good at the John Street location.

                  2. I've not been to the Park Ave. location, but I live near the John St. one and have had great meals there for the past four years. I'm guessing the menus are the same (for the most part), but John St. doesn't have a butcher counter. If the execution is close to the same I would go for the Franch onion soup, I thought the penne with gruyere was pretty good, nice and pungent. The mussels have always been great for me as has been the hanger steak with frites. Meaty, nice chew and a different flavor than most other steaks. Never been disappointed with it. I still think they have the best frites in Manhattan. The chocolate mousse and the profiteroles with bitter chocolate sauce have been my two favorite desserts. One thing to remember: the chances of A.B. overseeing the dishes coming out of the kitchen or "popping in" are nil.

                    5 Replies
                      1. re: billyboy

                        I think the food at Les Halles is decent, nothing too spectaclar but not too bad either. I would avoid any poultary items as they tend to be tough and dry. My experience with their mussels, like billyboy, has always been good. The steak tartare is also quite good with the traditional serving and mixing at the table I actually am less impressed by their pasta and lambs.

                        I think the service is more inconsistent. No water or condiments, bus boys always walk by you but don't serve you. And it could be very noisy, if that matters to you.

                        1. re: kobetobiko

                          When Les Halles Park Av. first opened, the food was quite good. But over the years, the quality has gone seriously downhill. Service has never been dependable and has become worse. Seating is so tight that a sardine would be yelling for help, and then, there's the insanely high noise level. We stopped going there a long time ago.

                          Instead, we continued to go directly across the street to the much more civilized Park Bistro, where delicious food, first-rate service, and comfortable ambiance were always to be found. They closed in June because the building is coming down to make way for a condo. (So, what's new?!) It's been months since they started renovating their new location on Park, b/t 26th & 27th. We passed by two weeks ago, and the spiffy new digs looked ready, but they weren't open yet. However, we just found out they're now open, so we look forward to going ther very soon. Btw, acc. to the sign above the door, the restaurant is now called "Park Avenue Bistro."

                          1. re: RGR

                            This is great to hear, RGR. I've been waiting for PB to reopen. I'l still go to LH for my favorite dishes, but I wholeheartedly agree that PB is superior in every way.

                            1. re: rrems

                              Though I feel confident the cuisine will remains as delicious as always, the interior decor is different from the old location. No more Paris bistro-feel. Now it's stylishly contemporary. If you get there before we do, rrems, please report back. :-)

                      2. I like the steak tar tar at Les Halles. It's prepared tableside, and they add a shot of cognac.

                        1. In addition to the steaks, I really like the Duck Confit Salad, and the Choucroute (when they have it).

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: ChefJune

                            They always have the choucroute garnie on the menu, but in February they add 3 others, duck, seafood, and Royale (huge selection of meat and sausage and sauerkraut cooked in Champagne).

                          2. steak with frites--if you eat meat-bon appetit

                            1. With or without Tony, try the steak tartare, the boudin noir and the choucroute. And the frites.

                              1. I went last year, and it was decent. I got the steak frites, and my sister got the steak tartare--both great. The frites were excellent, as were the desserts: the creme brulee and chocolate mousse were both rich and satisfying.

                                The service was a little brusque at times, and downright rude at others, however.

                                1. The steak frites is very good. Their french fries are excellent. I got that and a nice glass of wine when I dined there a year ago while in town and really enjoyed my meal. I know a lot of people knock the place but I found it very enjoyable.

                                  1. Would you make a recommendation for a lunch meeting in the Financial District? Only two people, but need a little quiet.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: deniceyy

                                      Well all - I went, and it was good! We got lucky with the service, only 1 drink at the bar before our table was ready, and we didn't have to wait TOO long at any one time for our waitress to serve us. We had the grilled calamari salad, which wasn't what I expected, but very tasty (even though I don't like onions). They could have been a bit more generous with the actual calmari. Other than that - the basics - steak au poivre, which was very tasty, and filet w/bernaise - also very good, but I was partial to the first. Skipped dessert but had some port. Overall, I had a great time, liked the crowds, liked the food, and liked the prices.