Brasserie Rachou is the new restaurant of Jean Jacques Rachou, chef and owner of the now defunct La Cote Basque. It is in the same space on W. 55th St., now totally redecorated in a classic French brasserie style. I believe today was the first day it was open to the public.
We were in the neighborhood this evening and decided to see if a table was available. There was, at the bar. The menu is classic brasserie food - pigs trotters, pot au feu, steaks, simple fish preparations, soupe de possoin, some salads, etc. First courses are priced in the teens - most about $18 or $19, with a few items such as foie gras considerably more. Most of the entrees are around $29/30. The service is highly professional and gracious - it was hard to believe that this was their first night (although I believe many of the waiters and cooks were long-time staff at La Cote Basque).
We shared the crab cake appetizer which was perfectly prepared - crisp and delicate on the outside, with succulent crab meat and not much more filling the small cake. For the main course, my companion had a classic steak au poivre - good size steak, tender meat, and a sauce with a really nice bite. It was served with potatos and a small casserole of peas and carrots. I had the lobster salad. It was quite large, with what must have been an entire lobster tail serving as the bed for a delicate pyramid of greens. We shared a raspberry tart, which had probably the sweetest raspberries I've ever eaten.
Obviously, Jean Jacques Rachou and his team know their stuff, and their classic brasserie menu is prepared with a great nod to tradition, but also, with a sense of panache. I'll definitely be going back.