Desserts & Bakeries
Southern & Soul
Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens
Lower East Side
Upper East Side
Upper West Side
(photo taken from Balthazarny.com)
80 Spring Street
To me, Balthazar is a New York institution. I remember when I made my first solo trip to the city, I ordered the shepherd’s pie. When I graduated from college, my family squeezed around a circular table, and the light reflected off of the speckled mirrors and white tabletop, where our wine left purple rings. I remember meeting an ex-boyfriend for martinis at the long wooden bar, and squeezing an impromptu business gathering into one of the booths that flank the area. The last time my grandmother was in town, we ate salade nicoise and drank cups of coffee. Such are my memories of Balthazar. CONT'D
But, there’s a less-romantic side to the restaurant as well— because, though you will love your meals at Balthazar, you will pay dearly for them. The same evening as the shepherd’s pie, on a 15-year-old’s budget, I was shocked when I was charged for a soda refill, in an already tiny glass. Brunch entrées are more than 20 dollars. Balthazar churns out delicious French bistro food, but hardly at French bistro prices.
Money aside, the food is delicious. I recently described the Balthazar experience to a friend as “predictable,” but I meant this in a positive way. There is something perennial about the restaurant: the food, the service, the entire experience is reliable. You know what you are walking into (oftentimes, a crowded noisy room in which you better have a reservation.)
The food is French: onion soup, escargot, a delicious warm goat cheese and caramelized onion tart, an extensive oyster menu. The entrees are just as good, and feature a range of fish (the skate is wonderful). Their burger, — though perhaps the red-headed-step-sister to its adored sibling at Minetta Tavern — is satisfying. One thing is for sure: Balthazar has perfect fries, salty and crunchy on the outside, steamy and soft in the middle.
Those desiring to avoid the crowds, the tab, and the noise, can get their fix in at the bakery next door, where the restaurant dishes out their signature bread, pastries and coffee to go.
Posted in FOOD on February 25, 2010 3:22pm by Rachel Hochhauser | 40 comments
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We are young (early 20's) and hungry (for knowledge! music! art! food!) friends living on (or in areas which border) Manhattan. We moved to the city seeking higher education, and an alternative to frat parties and gin buckets. We prefer a bottle of Chianti to a keg, lunches at City Bakery to a dining hall, Joe's to Starbucks, Frankie's Amatriciana to Batali's. Our uniting factor is our love for food. For detailed, personal information, keep reading.
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