I am an avid eater and a lover of all kinds of cuisine. But there is so much more to dining than just the food; on special celebratory occasions (such as our recent wedding anniversary trip to New York), B and I seek out dining opportunities that might be understood better as entertainment than eating. Not only can such an experience mirror the composition of a fine theatre performance--an ensemble cast of supporting players, lighting, presentation, attentive and polished service, wine and spirits--but all the bells and whistles are designed to showcase a star--the food.
Our first act: La Grenouille. This almost 50 year-old institution is dedicated to classic French cuisine. The story goes that La Grenouille first opened its doors on a snowy evening in 1962 and to this day remains largely unchanged. The setting is a mirrored and slightly dated dining room, overflowing with an unfathomable amount of fresh flowers, which add vibrant colors and fragrance to the intimate space. The cast of all male wait staff is attentively hopping about everywhere. I especially appreciated that a cocktail was offered as a prelude before the menu presentation.
La Grenouille offers a pre-theatre 3 course prix fix before 6pm for $60 ($85 with a custom wine pairing), whose menu options are both traditionally French and lovingly and personally prepared. A starter of foie gras, was layered with chicken liver and complimented by a zesty celery root remoulade. The Quenelle of Pike "Lyonnaise” entree consisted of two lighter-than-air mousse brochets served in a rich butter sauce. A dessert offering of rhubarb on a buttery, layered tart (paired with a sweet pistachio ice cream) heralded the beginning of local seasonal spring produce. Surprises were sprinkled throughout the meal: gougeres, cheese straws, and petite fours. And the cast of grey-haired Frenchmen was from start to finish gracious, professional, and charming. Bravo.