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At the End of an Era, Diners Remember Fab French Restos

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Sam Sifton asked readers to chime in with their memories of old school haute French dining temples, and chime in they have! Some of the 48 comments are just kissing Sifty's pop culture-loving bottom, some are berating him for not awarding today's reviewed restaurant La Grenouille four stars. But mostly the commenters there, and over in the Eater comment threads, are just spreading the love. Some of the favorites:

..La Grenouille is the standard that no ships fly anymore in this cold and trendy city. In a maddening city, with its maddening crowd, maddening noise (do we have the idea?), to enter La Grenouille is not for a mere repast. It is for sanctuary...

A great recovery:

Actually my career as a customer began on a wrong footing when in my very first time I've discovered a human hair entrenched in my chocolate mousse. After a petit scandale traded in good French, we began a beautiful and flowered relationship, that keeps on growing to the hapiness of my wives (one at a time, pls) my children and my friends (y inclues girlfriends in the past) whom I take with great pleasure to savour the delights - visual, olfative and gustatory - of my favorite place in the world. Long live to the Grenouille!

This one turns bitter eventually, but here's a highlight:

Sad fact, we all will age. In this case, just because a restaurant has endured nearly five decades, it should not be criticized for that. It has survived all the ups and downs not only of a cruel and fickle business but also of the economy. Most restaurants fail in their first year. In this fast paced world, with the speed of technology and constant quest for the next new restaurant and food trend, it is inspiring to see a restaurant that has been run by the same family and in the same location for so long and maintained their basic premise...I think people in the restaurant industry today should look at a place like La Grenouille and see what the hospitality industry is all about.

And one kind of hilariously bad encounter at Le Cirque:

I might add that the worst behavior I ever encountered at a restaurant was at Le Cirque. There one evening we had already ordered our meal when the Captain mentioned specials to the table next to us. On the list were two items not listed for us. I asked the Captain after he had taken their order and he replied to me in the snootiest possible tone "Oh monsieur the chef only makes a limited number of these specials, so we save it for only our best guests.
If there's time to kill, sift through the rest. A lot of nostalgic olds remembering a quieter, more civil time.
· What do You Mean You've Never Been? [Diner's Journal]

La Grenouille

3 East 52nd Street, Manhattan, NY 10022 (212) 752-1495 Visit Website

Le Grenouille

3 East 52nd St., New York, NY