At La Grenouille time is not only spent eating, but rather moments lapse in resplendence. Should you be so lucky to experience it, go with an open mind and don’t only think with your tongue, but your mind, heart, and nose too. Flowers of all sorts outfit the restaurant, their magnificent presence overshadowing the space’s other immaculate details, like the damask wallpaper the color of an effervescent Taittanger, and the petite lamps on every table that Charles Masson himself acquired from France before the restaurant was even incepted.
La Grenouille, which used to house horses in the past, was also once a French artist’s studio, and even a completely different French restaurant at one point. It is an endangered specimen, its precious heart still beating, expelling a heritage of New York culture, heirloom business, and service you would be fortunate to find anywhere else.
La Grenouille is not a brasserie. It is not where you’d go for steak au poivres avec frites. Rather, old-fashioned French cuisine is its central component. It prides itself on a menu that is laid down authoritatively, immune to culinary trends that blanket New York City. A salad with quail eggs, cured duck, and a wonderful vinaigrette, ushers a great meal the way an amuse-bouche might only a little bit more substantial. The Dover sole is what La Grenouille masters, a mild and buttery fish, filleted for you upon presentation. It is served with freshly steamed haricot vert, retaining a vibrant green hue and a bite that showcases the vegetable’s dainty integrity.
Rising to the occasion, and quite remarkably, are the soufflés. While a variety of offerings exist, the Grand Marnier takes the prize. An outstanding prototype of French baking, it’s a grown up kind of dessert that doesn’t resort to chocolate to do the sweet talking. Rather, a side of crème Anglaise works in unison with a melody of light cake, vanilla, and bitter orange liqueur, resulting in a mild yet impressive flavor.
3 E 52nd St
(between 5th Ave & Madison Ave)
New York, NY 10022