Great French Restaurant?
I'm looking for a great french restaurant. I'm craving french food and I haven't had a good french meal in a long time in NY.
Here's some of the things i'm trying to find
Decor: I'd like something nice (although doesn't mean just really fancy, something that is just nice and homey would be fine), but food is obviously the most important (by a long shot).
Price: isn't an issue although that doesn't mean the most expensive option is the best (i'd actually like more than one suggestion at diff price ranges).
Wine: A good wine list would be very nice, but not an absolute must.
Location: prefer something more downtown (14th or below), but doesn't really matter.
Any suggestions would be great. Thx.
Chez Napoleon on West 50th is a homey, authentic, and very good bistro. The complete menu is on their website. Also, Jarnac in the West Village is cozy, charming and has very good food and service.
Hey Lau, Ouest is the French restaurant that made me fall in love with French food, where before I had been indifferent.
The meats, especially the lamb, rabbit, and veal sweetbreads, are brilliant, always flavorful and juicy, never overdone. The baguettes, baked fresh and brought to your table while still hot, are amazing. The service is lovely: never stuffy, always accommodating. And the wines by the glass are all well selected, kept at more or less the correct temperature, and not left in the open bottle for too long. (The Cactus Creek shiraz is a favorite, and unfortunately not available except in restaurants, it seems.)
My only complaint is that vegetables are scant and vegetable sides are overbuttered, which is actually not at all representative of how typical French diners eat, in my experience. It would be lovely to have beautiful, simple, pan-roasted whole tomatoes, for instance, or oven roasted Brussel sprouts and asparagus -- that kind of thing.
I'm a big fan of the red leather banquettes. They make the space warmer and more fun than the typcial white tablecloth French restaurant.
Entrees run from 30-40. There is a $33 prix fixe menu before 6:30 p.m. on weekdays.
I'm no expert on French food, but I really enjoyed the experience at L'Ecole, the restaurant of the French Culinary Institute on the corner of Broadway and Grand. In particular, the winter salad, the skirt steak w/fries, and the chocolate ganache cake were exquisite. I've seen other reviews on here that were more mixed. The four course prix fixe from 5:30 to 7:00 for $40 is prepared by the chefs/teachers. The five course meal at 8:00 is prepared by the students.
We had lunch at Le Zucco a few months ago. The food's o.k. but certainly not rave-worthy. It's a teensy strip of a space with kitchy decor, only *one* regular table that seats 4, two high-tops for 2, and 4 stools at the counter. I don't think this is quite what the o.p. is looking for.
When I think "french" and "nice and homey" - the first place that comes to mind is Bistro Les Amis, corner of Spring & Thompson. We've enjoyed many excellent meals there over the years and call it our go to french restaurant!
Flea Market Cafe is on Avenue A, near 9th Street I believe. It is very reasonable and very French bistro like. There are actual French peple who work there...meaning that sometimes the service is French. But the food is on the mark -- the basic French bistro stock and a good wine list.
Allen & Delancey -- I haven't been but the menu has a very French feel to it and I hear good things. Ex: scallops with celery root cream; terrine of guinea hen with smoked ham knuckle, foie gras, and beets; and fillet of cod with lemon confit, oyster veloute, and caviar.
Solex -- a fairly generic looking wine bar in the EV on 1st Ave. that has some great French wines and surprisingly good and authentic French food, including a charcuterie plate that ranged from foie gras to salami, with gherkins, good crusty break, and great mustard. We also had a basic bibb salad with hard-cooked egg, frizzled shalltos, croutons, etc., that was just nicely composed, a good balance of cooked and raw, soft and crisp. The white wine we picked was from somewhere near the French Alps and a great value at 20-something dollars.
The best French food I've had in NY was at La Caravelle, La Cote Basque, and La Grenouille; the first two are closed and the last is awfully expensive.