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Jun 11, 2012 09:23 AM

Memorable French Restaurant

Any suggestions for a memorable french restaurant on a Monday evening.

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  1. Some questions::

    Do you prefer casual or upscale?

    Classic or modern cuisine?

    Do you have any regional preferences?

    Are you looking for a specific dish?

    Which French restaurants have you enjoyed in the past?

    Do you have any budget restrictions?

    23 Replies
    1. re: peter j

      Upscale is preferable, probably classic cuisine, although good quality food with fresh local ingredients is the most important regardless of style. No regional preference or specific dish. I can't recall dining at a French restaurant in Manhattan, although I have enjoyed Fleur de Lys,
      Gary Danko, Jardiniere, La Folie and Chez Panisse in the Bay Area. No budget restrictions.

      1. re: Juevos

        I highly recommend Bouley. Fantastic food, beautiful decor and attentive service. I've dined at Bouley many times during the past 12 years, and have never been disappointed.

        1. re: Juevos

          Given your preferences, consider La Grenouille for classic haute cuisine, and Daniel for updated classics.

          For me, Per Se is the best restaurant in NYC that employs French techniques but it's pretty similar to French Laundry.

          For something that you perhaps won't find in the Bay Area, try Le Bernardin for seafood, or Corton for edgy flavor combos.

          Jean Georges and Eleven Madison Park are board favorites though similar in many ways to the Bay Area restaurants that you prefer.

          Bouley is good but not in the same league as Gary Danko, etc.

          1. re: peter j

            La Grenouille, Le Bernardin and EMP are booked. I did get on a wait list. Not real excited about Daniel. For EMP they opened reservations for that evening this morning at 6 am PST. I didn't get to it until 9 am and the earliest reservation they had was 10:30 pm. A bit late for me.

              1. re: rrems

                Picholine is an excellent recommendation. Just had another exquisite dinner at Picholine on Saturday.

              2. re: Juevos

                Wow! I'm shocked to learn that La Grenouille is totally booked on a Monday night in July! But more power to them! We just had another divine lunch there.

                Photos of our recent lunch La Grenouille:


              3. re: peter j

                What happened to Bouley? for a while that was mentioned in a lot of these conversations, but seems to have really dropped off as far as commenter love at least. Ellennost is the only one who ever mentions it. Over the years I have had some amazing meals at various Bouley restaurants.

                Didnt mean to hijack the post, my kneejerk vote is always La Grenouille. Too bad its booked...

                I realize its not in this category, but I think Benoit is an under rated gem also.

                1. re: Hey19

                  I booked Bouley and will report back after July 9.

                  1. re: Juevos

                    I'll look forward to your report since I'm waiting to book my birthday celebration at Bouley for mid August. I just checked the Bouley menu that is on their website, and it looks like they've made some delicious sounding changes.

                    1. re: ellenost


                      I just went to the David Bouley website and, as has been the case every time I've gone there, it is not functioning, i.e., nothing is clickable. So, how were you able to check the menu?

                      ETA: It says "Site in Development.


                      1. re: RGR

                        The site is working fine. The website is

                        1. re: ellenost


                          That's the url I'm using, and the restaurant sections on the site aren't working on my desktop, my laptop, my iPad and iPhone. The reservations links, however, are working. Very strange!

                          Thanks, Tommy D., for providing the links to the lunch and dinner menus. :)


                          1. re: RGR

                            You are welcome RGR. If you click on Bouley Reservations, then the Bouley tab on top, just scroll down you'll see hyperlinks to the lunch and dinner menus.

                            1. re: Tommy D.

                              Well, go know that one has to go through a rigmarole in order to see the menus om the website. Thanks again, Tommy, for providing the steps necessary to find them.

                              As she promised, the woman I spoke with has emailed me the current menus. I just looked through the lunch prix-fixe, and there are a few differences between the website menu and the one she sent me. I haven't yet looked at the lunch a la carte or at the dinner menu to see if there are any other differences. But I suspect there might be.


                          1. re: Tommy D.

                            Thanks! Looks delicious, and I hope this menu stays for a while so I can try all the new items.

                            1. re: Tommy D.

                              ellenost and Tommy,

                              I just called Bouley. The woman I spoke with confimed what I have been telling you, i.e., that they are working on the website, and the restaurant sections are not operational. Ergo, there cannot be any menus on the website. She is emaling me the current lunch and dinner menus.

                              I just looked at the menus Tommy linked here. At the bottom of both, it says, "Copyright 2011."


                              1. re: RGR

                                The reference to copyright 2011 is in connection with their website in its entirety, not their menus. Since you have expressed numerous times that you have no interest in returning to Bouley, I'm puzzled as to why you seem to care so much about their menu. The posted dinner menu has a number of new items since I dined last at Bouley; the menu may change (or not) by the time I return in August. I'll let you know.

                                1. re: ellenost


                                  I'm not sure why you think I have no interest in returning to Bouley. While I was not totally bowled over by the one lunch we had there, I've never said I would never go again. I'm now actually considering going there next week.


                                  1. re: RGR

                                    I do hope you try Bouley again, and I sincerely hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

                      2. re: Hey19

                        I agree that Benoit is excellent.but seems to travel under the usual culinary radar.

                        Photos of our recent dinner at Benoit:

                        Its more upscale sibling Adour is not exactly too shabby and it, too, isn't mentioned very often.

                        Photos of our recent dinner at Adour:


                        1. re: RGR

                          The cassoulet and the chocolate souffle at Benoit are amazing.

                2. Many fine suggestions given. If you have trouble getting reservations at the places named, you might try La Silhouette. Very classic, very good, and the chef used to run the kitchen at La Grenouille.