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Jun 21, 2010 11:52 AM

La Grenouille

his place is so old, it's good. From the age of the diners (us 50 somethings were the youngest in the crowd, but yes there was a crowd) to the old fashion meal receipt calling for captains and waiters tips, the place preserves NYC dining from an era long passed in a very elegant manner.

The food is good, not exceptional but executed with precision. Service is pleasant and productive. But you are here for the room, the scene.

We happily scored a table on the end and had a full view of the dining room. We took in the fabulous flower arrangements, and had spot on views of perfectly dressed gentleman and ladies sporting dazzling baubles and elegant timepieces.

These folks are sitting side by side in what at first looks like a totally uncomfortable and almost communal looking banquet. Once seated you fall down into the comfortable cushions as your breath relaxes and a great feeling washes over you as to say "it will be quite fine hanging right here for the next few hours."

The table that is just inches from your elbow now seems a world away and as water and cheese puffs are delivered you finish off the cocktail the expert barman has concocted for you a few moments ago while diners were being seated, bags were being checked, regulars acknowledged and asian men without jackets are being fitted with wide blue blazers in the small entryway that doubles as a bar..

The menu is in English but of course you must try and order en francais. The wine list is easy to navigate but nothing here is easy on the wallet. $250 to $300 per head with wine and cocktails as the three course menu is $95 to just begin with.

It is a great theater, it is a sublime evening and if you have that special friend with you, it will be the beginning of a magical night!

La Grenouille
3 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022

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  1. Thanks for that review. After years of eating out in NY, I finally gave La Grenouille the first try weekend before last. I confess I was expecting a half-empty dining room, even though it was 8PM on a Saturday night. Not so! The place was full. And with a very interesting mix of people. Most of the patrons were older (I think I could have been the youngest person in there at 44), but no one seemed "old". Everyone was very elegant, very discreet, very well-mannered. You clearly got the feeling that many of them eat at La Grenouille often. As it turns out, Aretha Franklin happened to be there as well - and nobody even acted like they noticed.

    Even though I'm not a regular, the service was still friendly, but "correct" - not overly familiar, but warm.

    There is nothing inventive or original about the food - and in my opinion, that is exactly their strong point. This is just well-executed traditional French food - with the sauces, the souffles, etc. All the stuff we loved before "nouvelle cuisine" made it seem old-fashioned.

    All in all, it was a very pleasurable experience, and definite a place I will be going back to.

    La Grenouille
    3 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022

    2 Replies
    1. re: edwardspk

      It's been 10 years since I ate at La Grenouille, but the one thing I remember, in addition to the stunningly beautiful room, is that I was served one of the best cups of coffee I've ever had!

      La Grenouille
      3 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022

      1. re: Blumie

        Went back again this past weekend with friends from Florida. They were so blown away and said it was a place unlike anything they had been before. This is a timeless treasure!

    2. Had a Bastille Day lunch there today and it was magical -- like being transported to an earlier, more gracious time. I had oysters and the Dover sole, which was buttery and delicious and perfectly cooked. Skipped dessert -- I know, the souffle -- but liberally indulged in the candied pistachios and buttery cookies that came with coffee, an assortment that included mini madeleines that I could have eaten by the dozen. Elegant surroundings, service, and food.

      1 Reply
      1. re: City Kid

        Vive La France!

        What a great way to celebrate Bastille Day, think I will head out for some french fries right now!