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Monday, December 14, 2009

LE RIVAGE--FRENCH DINING IN THE HEART OF NYC


Le Rivage
340 46th Street
New York, NY
212 765-7373
www.lerivagenyc.com

There are few better ways to spend an afternoon than with good friends and good food. That is exactly the combination when I meet with my sorority sisters—friends of more than 40 years’ duration—and we catch up and chat in a NYC restaurant. This time there are nine of us at Le Rivage, part of the 46th Street Restaurant Row selection. Le Rivage is about as authentic a French restaurant as one can find, and it is a total pleasure.

I arrived about 45 minutes early, a matter of train schedules, and I park myself at the bar, order a glass of very nice cabernet, and pull out my book. Immediately I’m offered a dish of mixed nuts on which to nibble until the rest of the girls arrive.

I, being the first customer of the day, cannot help but notice the next two customers address the hostess in French, and after a brief conversation, they’re seated. The telephone rings, and the conversation is in French. The next two customers enter, and again French is spoken. The single waitress already on duty speaks French to the customers. As the wait staff arrives, I hear English with a decidedly French accent, and then, finally some American English. I always enjoy an ethnic restaurant where people of that ethnicity gather.

My sisters come one by one and order their drinks until we decide that our table would be better. As I conveyed the circumstances of the luncheon when I made the reservations, we were thoughtfully put in the back where we could boisterously enjoy the afternoon. I guarantee we did.

Le Rivage’s menu is very practical. There is a $22.00 Prix Fixe lunch (appetizer, entrée, dessert, coffee) or a la carte (appetizer-$8.00, entrée [including salad]-$20.00, and dessert-$7.00). Reasonable and fair. We chose the prix fixe lunch.

The menu is very extensive. From the fourteen choices of appetizers, I chose the Leek and Potato soup, a rich and creamy mixture of flavors seasoned perfectly. My friends chose “Salade verte” with artichoke hearts vinaigrette, country style pork paté, and several other choices.

For my entrée, I followed a friend and ordered one of my favorites, Escargots—a dozen snails with French Garlic butter. Once again, this is a perfect choice. The snails are just right, and the garlic butter—ooo la la. The French rolls on the table are just perfect for one of the rites of escargot—dipping into that garlic butter. Twenty-one entrée choices grace Le Rivage’s menu, so everyone is satisfied. Some of us order Coquille Bay Scallops, Poached salmon, and Pork Chop “Forestière.” As we all rave about our choices, I can recommend every one enthusiastically.

From the eleven dessert choices, I go with Crème Brulée. Several of us do. Runner up, I believe is Chocolate Mousse. Coffee all around.

When we leave at 3:00 PM (with a 12:30 reservation), we are happy and satiated. It’s also a perfect day to walk with Loretta back down to Penn Station and drop off Angie at Port Authority. Excellent friends and Excellent food. BTW, the restaurant is full, and the wait staff busy scurrying back and forth as we leave.

If you’re in NYC as a tourist or before or after a show, try Le Rivage at this very convenient location. It’s a real treat.


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