January 18, 2012 § Leave a comment
While my taste in clothing, art and furniture runs on the modern side of things and my work is thoroughly planted in The Future these days, I would never consider myself hip or cool. I have lots of fabulous friends who are, but I am just not. So when it comes to going out, I like the classics.
Maybe that is part of why I love New York so much (except when I hate it). At its best, it is a satisfying mix of new and old. And one of the very best bits of “old” is one of my favorite restaurants, the about to be 50-year-old La Grenouille. Even the matchbook — which has real matches — is a throwback to Different Times…
The dining room is full-on Sixties French: Gold papered walls, red velvet banquettes, fabulous little lamps on each table, with shades lined in pink so everyone in the room looks rosy. And then there are the flowers. Goodness, the flowers…The owners pride themselves on them and rightly so. Up-to-the-ceiling arrangements on every partitian and beautiful clusters of the freshest blooms on each and every table.
The wait staff is the closet to those in Paris that I’ve met: Informed, accommodating and friendly, but not “familiar”. (I swear this is a good thing.) Unlike many places in the city, they even ask you if you want to enjoy your cocktail first before seeing the menu. Far more civilized than having it rammed in your face before you are even in your seat. It is all very proper, without feeling stiff.
The overall effect is warm and lovely and totally Old School Classic. As is the menu, which is the only place in New York that still makes quenelles. They are light, tender and beyond yummy. Last night I had them with a few oysters to start, a glass of champagne — ok, two glasses — and a soufflé to finish. Perfect.
Two hours later* we were back outside, surrounded by the lights and skyscrapers, with the city’s steam rising up from the streets. And it must be said that the effect of that was pretty classic, too.
* See, it does not take a lot of time to have a little fun.
(Photos: Some Cozy Night)