La Grenouille has long been one of my favorite restaurants in New York, but one that I don't frequent often because it is expensive. The last time I went was at least a year and a half ago with my husband for Saturday lunch, which they no longer serve. Today, my L.A. neighbor, who has a pied a terre downstairs, and I went for a long planned lunch.
As you may have read, if you've not been, the room is beautiful. Red banquettes, crisp white table cloths, bouquets on each table, and huge, stunning, flower arrangements around the room, today with an autumnal theme. I'm going to try not to wax too lyrically, and just describe our meal.
We started with two Lillet Blanc with soda. Then ordered a Chassagne Montrachet (about $115) to drink with my six malpeques oysters, my friend's endive salad, and two orders of Dover Sole. We also ordered a souffle for dessert - the three on the menu were Grand Marnier, chocolate and poire, but they also had caramel and pistachio. We ordered the caramel.
The timing throughout the meal was perfect. When we finished our Lillets, our wine was brought to the table, and later replenished at each appropriate moment. Then our appetizers arrived - I love small oysters, and the six Malpeques were served with a delicious, but not too tart, mignonette sauce. My friend very much enjoyed her endive salad.
We took a long time to finish our first course, and then received the Dover Sole. This is a dish that, in New York, I think I've only had at La Grenouille. It is presented on the bone, and then fileted and brought to the table, with some fabulous haricots vertes, and a mustard sauce. It's amazing to me how elegant and delicious such a truly simple dish can be.
My friend ordered a glass of white wine, the mignardise were served, and then our souffle arrived. This truly was one of the best desserts I've ever had. It was served with a vanilla creme anglaise on the side, which had a swirl of caramel on top. We couldn't eat all of it between the two of us, but it was so light, yet replete with deep caramel flavour. With our espressi, we were served a small dish of candied almonds.
The bill was $317 before tip (including a captain's tip). The food, although so simple, was just fabulously executed, the room beautiful and the people watching most amusing. My husband and I often accidentally end up spending $200 for a decent, but not so great, meal, but I'd rather save up and eat again at La Grenouille, the last of the Grandes Dames.
BTW - the three course prix fixe is $52, but there are supplements for the sole and the souffle.
3 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022