April 17, 2012
- Fine French Dining
- Food: Fine French Food
- Decor: Classic, Upscale French
- Service: They've got their service down to a science.
- Cost: $$$$
- Wine / Cocktails:
Dining at La Grenouille is like waking up in the middle of a delicious dream.
That same weekend I went, there was an article in the Wall Street Journal, contemplating What’s The Next Big Restaurant. Before we get ahead of ourselves, however, let’s start with what makes dining an “experience” in the first place, no matter what the occasion: service, as well as great food.
I’m all for the Spotted Pigs (NY) and Big Stars (CHI) of the world; in fact they are totally my speed. Great food, casual atmosphere, fun service and ice cold drinks. But I do reminisce about my days when I started in the business and was lucky enough to dine at the original Le Cirque in NY (while I was an aspiring foodie in college back in the 80s & 90?s), Spago on Sunset and Mugaritz in San Sebastian (still a bit new fangled, but they also had their service down to a science).
There is something about the experience at these newer places that can often be amiss, as well as missed, in these more modern offshoots of culinary civilization. How long should you sit with an empty coupe before you are asked if you would like another cocktail? Should you get clean plates between saucy courses? Should your server pass your pop quiz about the specials for the night? When is the right time to clear the table? Am I being rushed here?
I had never been to La Grenouille in Manhattan, but have walked past it probably 100 times on my way to Fred’s. Red velvet banquettes, lush and opulent floral arragements, gilded mirrored bathrooms (PS – very James Beard House-esque) and most of all, fine French cuisine and spot-on service. This is “the” Big Thing. They get it right.
Charles Masson, Proprietor, was the perfect host and gentleman, even making sure I had an umbrella on the way out the door to the after party at The Monkey Bar.
What a perfect night. Merci.
Le Potage Saint Germain, Poularde au Pot Henri IV, Gâteau à la Noisette et Chocolat, Glace Vanille