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Favorite French restaurants for a newbie?

Ohio
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Favorite French restaurants for a newbie?

Bringing my 15-year-old niece to NYC. She says she wants to try French food while we are there. Any recommendations for a moderately-priced place (either lunch or dinner) ? Something with a tasting menu would be great (though not necessary) , so she can sample many items. Location doesn't matter, but something in the theatre district would be good since we will be seeing several shows, and could dine before (or after) the show. Thanks!

Lori

Danbury, Connecticut
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1. Re: Favorite French restaurants for a newbie?

Le Madeleine is very nice.

West Palm Beach...
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2. Re: Favorite French restaurants for a newbie?

I like Le Madeleine, though it's gotten mixed reviews of late. If you go, reserve a table in their enclosed garden, it's lovely.

There are so many good bistros around town. But Balthazar is still a star. It's a fun place with a great vibe, and the food is really wonderful. Its sister restaurant, Pastis, is also good, but Balthazar is the real deal.

New York City, New...
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3. Re: Favorite French restaurants for a newbie?

I thought you were going to do a fancy tasting lunch at Bouley or Gordon Ramsey or Le Bernardin? Those are all French. ;)

I don't really think there are any great French restaurants in the theater district. Marseille is supposed to be the best but I haven't been impressed and while Le Madeleine is pretty in the garden room, the food isn't all that special.

Payard Bistro on the upper east side has several different tasting menus but not cheap. Aritisinal, famous for their cheese might be a fun idea. They have prix fixe lunch and dinner menus and also serve various fondues. That's on 32 st. not far from the ESB.

Ohio
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4. Re: Favorite French restaurants for a newbie?

You're right nywhiz....I guess we can kill two birds here and do the upscale gourmet tasting and French at the same place with Bouley or Le Bernardin. Honestly, it wasn't dawning on me for some reason that those were French restaurants. Duh. :)

Brooklyn, New York
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5. Re: Favorite French restaurants for a newbie?

PT - just a reminder that Le Bernardin is all about fish - especially about how the fish should be the star of the show - so cooking methods are all important - and overcooking will never happen at Le Bernardin. The only negative about this 4 star restaurant is it's physical setting - as the NY Times said "...has all the s*x appeal of a first-class airport lounge."

If you want to make your blow-out dinner a French restaurant I would also highly recommend...

Daniel - my # 1 choice (since you won't be able to get into Per Se)

Jean Georges - my #2 choice

Fleur de Sel

Aix Brasserie

Chanterelle

Good luck with your choice - your niece is in for a real treat.

And, P.S. - I took my then 15-yr-old daughter to La Boite en Bois for her first French bistro meal. It's by Lincoln Center and is very much a traditional bistro

http://www.laboitenyc.com/

QQ2
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6. Re: Favorite French restaurants for a newbie?

You know, there's all different types of French restaurants, ranging from humbler bistros and brasserie-type places like l'Express, Maison and Pigalle, to fancier and trendeier brasserie-type places like Balthazar and Nice Matin, to haute French places like the traditional Perigord and Grenouille and the more contemporary Bernardin.,Bouley, etc

How experienced is your niece with French food.? Has she eaten a lot of it before? If she hasn't, you might want to go for a middle of the road traditional French place (where she can perhaps eat the traditonal dishes probably described in her French textbooks). A couple of places that come to mind in the midtown area are La Mediterrannee, on Second Avenue near 50th Street, and le Veau d'Or, on 60th or 61st near Bloomingdale's. Jackie O used to eat at le Veau d'Or when she first came to New York, and I can't believe it's still here (actually you should check to make sure). Another place I was going to mention was Pierre au Tunnel, in the theater district, but I believe that closed in the last year or so. For more of a contemporary Franco/American brasserie experience, you could try Balthazar or Nice Matin. I'm not certain I would go with the more sophisticated and more expensive Bouley, Bernardin, etc. unless she already has some knowledge of French food, or good food in general, especially given the cost.

New York City, New...
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7. Re: Favorite French restaurants for a newbie?

Gascogne in Chelsea is a very approachable, moderate French for a newbie - and they have a really nice outdoor garden (with heat, if necessary).

Its across from the Joyce theatre, so they have price fixed dinners too. Sort of off the radar - its a neighborhood place - but every foodie or French person I bring there loves it.

Durham, United...
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8. Re: Favorite French restaurants for a newbie?

FYI Lori, Fleur de Sel as LTT mentions, does a price fix lunch for $29

(Its also on my list!)

Ohio
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9. Re: Favorite French restaurants for a newbie?

Thanks for all the great suggestions. I've not had much experience with French food, and she has never had it at all, so any of these I'm sure would be wonderful for us. We do both love fish, and are pretty adventurous eaters. I may send her links to some of these menus and have her decide what sounds good, especially with the more expensive places.

Should we be concerned about the dress code in any of these places, particularly if we go for lunch? We most likely will be casual during the days as we wander around and shop, so I'm not sure if we will be dressed appropriately for Fleur de Sel or any of the others mentioned.

Brooklyn, New York
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10. Re: Favorite French restaurants for a newbie?

HI again - Fleur de Sel is "business casual" for lunch - nice slacks, a skirt and blouse, etc. Here's their lunch menu...

fleurdeselnyc.com/fleurdesel_lunchtasting.pdf

And here's everything else you would want to know about them

www.savorynewyork.com/wiki/Fleur_de_Sel