Don’t ask me how I ended up sitting in the original Les Halles restaurant on Park Avenue, the exact place where Tony Bourdain, now a writing, traveling, gallivanting food-centric travel show host (among other things) worked so hard and played even harder, for so many years. Because I’m not really so sure either.
But there I was, in flip-flops and a breezy summer skirt, drinking really great wine (probably better than my fledgling palate deserves) and poking at buttery, garlic-y escargot, still bubbling hot from the oven on a random Thursday night. And loving every second of it — and not feeling uncomfortable at all.
Les Halles — at one point it was described to me as a slightly grittier, edgier Pastis, which I really enjoyed — really does lack pretension. The servers are knowledgeable, if a little no-nonsense, and the ocassional picture on the wall hangs askew. But no one cares, because Les Halles really is about the meal, and what a meal it was:
The order of escargots were followed by the côte deboeuf, described on the menu as “prime rib or two,” but this is unlike any prime rib I’ve ever had before. (Something to do with French versus American cuts of beef.) This stunning beef cut is cooked on the bone, carved up tableside, and served in long, strips on plates piled high with hot frites. Nice work, Bourdian. Your team nailed it.
TIP: Go! Les Halles is that it really isn’t expensive, nor is it pretentious. Check out their menu: a majority of the entries fall between $14-$24, and most of those are less than $20.