REVIEW #16

La Grenouille

La Grenouille is the last of its breed in New York: a truly old-world and truly French restaurant of the first class. There may not be a more elegant or romantic dining room in New York. It is a triumph of golden silk damask wall covering, red banquettes, oil paintings in Louis XV frames, crystal sconces and, above all, its famous, massively-scaled flower arrangements. Sam Sifton has wondrously described the clientele as “Thackeray characters come to life in a modern age”, including “city patricians, upscale travelers, romantics celebrating anniversaries, cads with escort-service friends, priests drinking Burgundy and spooning soup past their dog collars.” Who wouldn’t want to eat at such a restaurant?

The classic French fare lives up to the promise of the décor. There are superb sauces, composed from excellent stocks and classic dishes rarely served nowadays. The famous quenelles de brochet are everything they’re reputed to be. The frogs’ legs sautéed in butter with parsley and garlic are marvelous, as are the oxtail braised in red burgundy sauce and the grilled dover sole. Do not think of leaving without ordering a soufflé. With the lamentable demise of Le Pavillon, Lutèce, La Caravaelle, La Côte Basque and Lespinasse, it is left to La Grenouille in this age of austerity and casual dining to keep the flame of haute French cuisine burning and aloft in New York amid the encroaching darkness.

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INFORMATION

Midtown East
3 E. 52nd St.
New York (nr. Fifth Ave.)
(212) 752-1495
Tue-Sat, noon-2:30pm, 5pm-10:30pm
    Noah Metnick, Chef

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