Last night at KFWE we got a flyer form Chagall Bistro self-describing as "The first French Kosher restaurant in New York!"
I like Chagall. I really do. It feels and tastes like a bistro in Paris. But, it is certainly not the first French restaurant in New York. Doesn't anybody else remember La Differance? It was the first French kosher restaurant in New York. It opened sometime in the 80s in the Roosevelt Hotel, a hotel that was then showing wear at the edges, well, the whole city was. La Differance was that it was French - not like all those other kosher restaurants where every dish had pickles on the side.
La Difference felt like a "real" restaurant. Elegant, spacious, quiet, no bottles of mustard on the tables. They handed us a very French menu. We ordered, they brought the wine and poured it, we were very pleased with ourselves.
Then the waiter destroyed the entire illusion by bringing us a tray of half-sour pickles, a dish of cold slaw, and a basket of sliced rye bread.