Tuesday night Allison and I went to Raouls for dinner. This wasnt a typical dinner at Raouls though. This one was special. Tuesday night was Raouls 25th anniversary and to celebrate, the menu was priced like it was back in 1975. The most expensive appetizer was $3.50 and the most expensive entrée was $8.50.
This event was publicized in the New York Times dining section two weeks ago. However, from what I understand, Raouls regular patrons were called in advance and offered reservations for that evening. We arent what I would call regulars, but we have eaten there several times. When I called in the afternoon of the day it was mentioned in the NYT they told me that they had over 500 calls before noon. They told me if I was willing to eat upstairs then they could fit us in at 10:30. Thats pretty late, but we generally dont eat until 8:30-9:00 and we figured if we showed up a bit early they would be able to seat us.
We walked in at 10:10 hoping to eat a bit early. We could see by the crowd at the bar that it was going to be a challenge to get seated by 10:30 let alone eat early. In addition to people with reservations that were a number of people who walked in with the hopes of getting a last minute cancellation. The restaurant was jumping. All of the waitstaff and quite a few of the dinners were dressed like it was 1975 and disco was playing loudly over the speaker system. It was a festive atmosphere that brought smiles to our faces. Surprisingly enough we managed to get seated right on time.
We sat across from three guys who were having a blast singing along to Diana Ross Im Coming Out. Raouls puts out very good French bistro cuisine. The prices are usually a bit high, but with 1975 prices in effect it was a steal! Allison and I were both starving at this point so we ordered quickly. She had the steamed leeks and I had the chicken liver pate for appetizers. Both dishes were not as good as we are used to from Raouls. It seemed that they were cooked and thrown on the plate in a hurry. This was more than made up for when our entrees came. We both ordered the steak au poivre. As usual it was really good. The portions were huge. We thought that since the prices were reduced, the portions would be similarly reduced. Clearly we were wrong. We could have shared one entrée. We had an unknown bottle of 1998 Corbieres that wasnt anything special, but it paired well with the steak. Right out of the bottle it had a tannic mean streak, however they subsided and the steak helped cut through the tannins. The winelist at Raouls is much stronger in the Burgundy section.
We didnt get home until after 12:30, but Im glad that we went. We enjoyed good food, great atmosphere, and a ton of fun. When we were walking out the door at about 12:20, they were still packed at the bar and seating people for dinner. The best part was the bill. Our last meal at Raouls was $150+ for everything. This one was $57, before tip.