We were fortunate to be in New York City for our anniversary last year. The hardest part of being in NYC, as far as food goes, is the enormous amount of choices. Coworker suggestions, websites, guidebooks – all have suggestions on where to go. I’m sure had I talked to one of the many people who were talking to themselves on the streets of New York, they would have had helpful suggestions as well.
I chose Les Halles, which I did for several reasons. First, it was in Lower Manhattan, about a ten minute walk from where we were staying on South Street. Second, it was French, and we don’t have French restaurants in Lansing. Third, it was where Anthony Bourdain worked, and I was a fan of his “No Reservations” show. And finally, I like to say “Les Halles” – I feel so cultured when I do.
My big fear was that it would be touristy, filled with people like me – wearing Michigan State hats (Go Green), carrying Macy’s bags, and bumping into things because they weren’t watching where they were going. But I didn’t get that sense at all. Talking to the people at the neighboring table – and you can do that because the tables are quite close – they hadn’t heard of Mr. Bourdain, and were there because their hotel had recommended it. The other couple were Russian, and they kept banging their shoes on the table and yelling “We will bury you!”
The restaurant was quite busy, but the service was polite and efficient. We didn’t feel rushed or crowded despite how many people were there, so that is a compliment to the servers of Les Halles.
So many good things were on the menu, but I decided on the steak and frites (French fries), which I had eaten in Paris last year. The meal also came with bread and a salad, and it was all good. The steak was cooked perfectly (medium, bien sur) and the fries were the perfection that comes with just a little crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. I know, it seems odd to go to a nice restaurant and have fries, but the French do it, and so should you. You should not, however, strike at random and leave tourists stranded, making it difficult to catch their train back to London. I’ve heard that is inconvenient.
Andrea also steak, the bavette au bleu, which is skirt steak with blue cheese sauce, which she enjoyed quite a bit. We shared a bottle of Chateau Haut Courey Bordeaux, and it tasted even better because it was half price. Was that because it was Monday? Could be.
For dessert, Andrea had le mousse au chocolate, and I had puff pastries made with vanilla ice cream. We were both happy with our choices. The pasties were not overly sweet, and they came with a little jug of chocolate sauce which I used to thoroughly drown the pastries. And just check out the little plate decorations made of chocolate – that is some serious drizzle skill. Or, as Snoop Dogg would say, snizzle my drizzle. I hope that wasn’t dirty, but it was fun to write.
Our choice of anniversary restaurants was a good one, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Les Halles to friends, family, and random people on the street.