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Great French Restaurant?

Lau Jan 19, 2008 10:18 PM

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.

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  1. MMRuth RE: Lau Jan 20, 2008 04:29 AM

    Maybe try Le Gigot on Cornelia Street - we haven't been for a while - need to rectify that soon.

    2 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth
      idia RE: MMRuth Jan 20, 2008 05:23 AM

      Not that far downtown but Rene Pujol gets good reviews usually. (51st bet. 8 & 9) You might want to google their menu and see for yourself.
      Bon appetit!

      1. re: idia
        capeanne RE: idia Jan 20, 2008 01:19 PM

        Rene Pujol was awful on my visit. Here is my post . http://www.chowhound.com/topics/461624

        'Is Capsuto Freres still a good choice ?

    2. r
      rrems RE: Lau Jan 20, 2008 06:52 AM

      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.

      1. c
        cimui RE: Lau Jan 20, 2008 09:35 AM

        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.

        1. ChefJune RE: Lau Jan 20, 2008 10:27 AM

          I like Gascogne on 8th Ave at 18th Street. Cozy surroundings, and excellent food.

          1. d
            douglas525 RE: Lau Jan 20, 2008 03:00 PM

            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.

            1 Reply
            1. re: douglas525
              drumwine RE: douglas525 Jan 20, 2008 09:01 PM

              On the higher end, but definitely worth the experience would be Daniel, Jean Georges, 11 Madison Park or Le Bernardin. Look on-line for the menus...your palate will thank you.

            2. l
              lisettte RE: Lau Jan 20, 2008 10:40 PM

              How is LES Zucco le french diner. I have never been there but it is inexpensive and might be good

              2 Replies
              1. re: lisettte
                bronwen RE: lisettte Jan 21, 2008 06:25 AM

                La Grenouille is beautiful, last time I had quenelles, chicken grand mere and a Calvados souffle, you can't get much more French than that!

                1. re: lisettte
                  RGR RE: lisettte Jan 21, 2008 02:19 PM

                  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.

                2. Foody4life RE: Lau Jan 21, 2008 02:45 PM

                  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!

                  1. o
                    out_to_lunch RE: Lau Jan 21, 2008 04:38 PM

                    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.

                    1. a
                      akowit RE: Lau Jan 21, 2008 06:41 PM

                      Two ideas:

                      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.

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