Balthazar, evocative of a Paris brasserie in New York City’s trendy SoHo district, is a restaurant & bakery, and even has its own cookbook! Acclaimed as New York’s most authentic French bistro, the restaurant is ranked number one in Urbanspoon’s New York Fine Dining category and number one on the SoHo list – all for good reason. This place is a famous spot for locals, celebrities (Posh and her new Beckham-baby dined here a few days ago, and Balthazar Getty eats here, although he has no relation to the restaurant) and tourists alike. I was a bit skeptical at first. Often when restaurants boast high ratings, I usually enter with high expectations and leave gravely disappointed. Not the case with Balthazar. We were pleasantly surprised by the food! Their beverage menu, pictured above, has a photo of The Balthazar Cookbook available for purchase. Written by Balthazar chefs so home cooks can prepare the restaurant’s favorite recipes in their own kitchens.
We came for a late lunch after a day of shopping and sightseeing, and ordered a couple Bacardi White Rum & Cokes ($10.00 each) with lime wedges. Although not French, this ‘Cuba Libre’ drink was perfect for the sweltering heat of the mid summer afternoon.
Although bread and butter were served before our meal, it wasn’t necessary since our lunches were huge portions and heavily-carbed. This crusty bread was not up to par because it was slightly hard and stale.
Now, the bread on my clubhouse was amazingly-fresh! Chicken Club ($16.50) – Grilled with crisp Romaine lettuce, freshly-picked tomato, ripe avocado, crispy smoked bacon, creamy mayonnaise, and served with pommes frites. “Wow” is all I can say. Optimal freshness, optimal ripeness, each individual ingredient was exquisitely in its prime. This club housed the best tomato I have tasted in decades. Vibrantly red, with a strong tomato aroma, and the taste…amazing. Why am I focusing so much on a tomato? It’s the simple things in food…superior ingredients are the first step to impeccable cuisine. The chicken breast was grilled to perfection, and still remained moist and juicy.
Balthazar Bar Steak ($26.00) – Expertly cooked medium-rare, this tender and juicy beefsteak was served with Balthazar’s famous pommes frites and maître d’ butter or choice of béarnaise sauce. A generous portion of these delicious French fries were mounded on the plate – we could barely finish them all.
Mango Cheesecake ($9.00) – Topped with fresh raspberries and served with vanilla bean crème anglaise sauce. This was a tiny portion, and although bright yellow, it lacked true mango flavor. Good, but not a superior cheesecake you’d expect from a restaurant like Balthazar.
The restaurant is quite large, but tables are cozy and you have to dine very close to your neighboring party. Service was quite good, and also be prepared to tip the Restroom attendant when you utilize the facilities.
Every restaurant in Manhattan has a letter posted outside showing its health-inspector rating. Balthazar, obviously, received an A! Balthazar is New York’s most authentic French bistro – a must visit during your trip to NYC!