For French food in a lively setting, I frequent La Grande Boucherie.
A restaurant brave enough to open in Midtown Manhattan during the height of the pandemic has my vote before I’ve even tasted a bite. When La Grande Boucherie opened in November 2020 with space for over 500 diners, it made a statement that NYC would be back.
It is nestled in a pedestrian gallery that has the energy of a public plaza in Paris. The French doors are always open, and there is a mix of indoor and outdoor seating. High glass ceilings, subway tiles, mix-and-match artwork, Art Nouveau-style balconies, and the traditional pewter bar scream Belle Époque grandeur.
The atmosphere is haunting and crowded, and the food is as impressive as anything I’ve eaten in the finest brasserie in France. Boucherie means butcher’s shop in French, so the meat here, including home-made charcuterie and beef sourced from single-family farms, is of high quality. The steak frites are mouth-watering, as is the striped bass on a bed of fennel accented with piquant olives. The show-stopping raw bar is overflowing with wild oysters, whelks, scallops and langoustine.
Their Francophile desserts are given an Asian kick, with yuzu and lychee adding unexpected citrus notes to pastries such as Paris-Brest and raspberry tart.
Although the space is large and busy, I have had a personal experience every time I have dined here, and I always find the staff particularly attentive.
Must try: Raspberry tart with pistachio cream and lychee coulis.
Find out more about La Grande Boucherie here.