Written by Hulda Lawrence
with M.J. Boyer

Past Reviews

BenoitIt is no longer necessary to travel to Paris to enjoy "real" French cuisine. Right here in Manhattan there is Benoit, at 60 West 55th Street, 646-943-7373. This Alain Ducasse bistro evokes the charm and pleasure of the original Benoit in Paris, which opened its doors in 1912. Named after Benoit Matray, the restaurant remained in his family for 93 years, spanning three generations, until Matray's grandson, Michel Petit, handed it over to Alain Ducasse in 2005.

As the authentic Parisian bistro fare has the quality of seducing beyond borders, Benoit opened its doors in Tokyo in the fall of 2005, followed by two other openings in 2008, Le Comptoir de Benoit in Osaka and Benoit in New York. Drawing influence from the repertoire of 100-year-old recipes that originated from Mere Marie's secret recipe book has become the hallmark of Benoit. Alain Ducasse and Chef Philippe Bertineau have composed a menu that celebrates traditional French cuisine with modern technique, seasonal ingredients, and a lighter hand.

We had a delightful luncheon a few days ago. The prix fixe is $29 for two courses; three courses are $36. For an appetizer diners can choose Soup of the Day, Haricots Verts Salad, or Melon and Cured Ham. For main course there is Seared Skate Wing, Spaghetti, or Skirt Steak. For dessert there is Fresh Fruit Salad, Pastry, or Cheese (Cheese and Bread are $5 extra.) From the list of a la carte appetizers we selected Duck Foie Gras Terrine and Tarte Flambée. Each was swiftly presented and was tasteful. Other choices are Vegetable Bayaldi Cookpot, Niçoise Salad, Charcuterie, and Pâté en Croûte, Maine Lobster Salad, Onion Soup, East Coast Oysters, Escargots, and Confit Eggplant (Three choices are $12; Five are $26.) Quenelles de Brochet also available.

There also are hors D'oeuvres "for the table," three for $12 and five for $16. Vegetable à la Grecque, Eggplant Caviar, Egg Mayo, Octopus & Cuttlefish Salad, Salmon Gravlax and Sardines Escabèche are among the choices.

Main courses include Warm Chicken Salad, Cobb Salad, Seared Salmon, Steamed Loup de Mer, Roast Chicken for one or two, Hand-Chopped Prime Beef Tartare, Hanger Steak, or Burgers, $17 to $18. Our choice was a delicious Foie de Veau at $28. The liver was accompanied by Lyonnaise potatoes and onions. We also requested an order of pommes frites which we saw at a nearby table. They were crisp, hot and flavorful and served with ketchup, mayo and mustard.

For dessert we shared Armagnac and cream over a delicious piece of cake.

Benoit also has an extensive wine department. In addition to a great variety of wines there is Louis Latour and ounces by the glass, like Louis XIII de Remy Martin is $185 by the ounce. My Côtes du Rôone, Cornas, was exceptional.

Benoit can host up to 63 guests in three adjacent dining rooms, perfect for an intimate ceremony. Benoit will also help to organize a bridal shower, a wine tasting, a seated rehearsal dinner, or a post-wedding buffet.

Benoit is a joy to visit. The walls are covered with fascinating paintings. There is swift and caring service.

Hours: Lunch Monday-Saturday 11:45 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Dinner Monday - Sunday 5:30 p.m. to 11 p. m.
Sunday Brunch 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Credit Cards: All Major
Wheelchairs: Yes
Price: $$$$$

The Restaurant Revue Ratings

The dollar sign indicates the approximate cost of dining for two persons, excluding beverages, tax and gratuity.

$ Inexpensive $25
$$ Moderate $50
$$$ Expensive $100
$$$$ Very Expensive $150

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