Written by Hulda Lawrence
After all the exotic "new" restaurants in the midtown area it is a pleasure to report that Channel 4 at 58 West 48th Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, 212 819-0095, presents simple food in a comfortable setting. It is an Irish Pub and restaurant with no frills, but plenty of good food. Looking out the windows one spies Channel 4, its namesake, and a view of Rockefeller Center.
We entered downstairs but promptly went upstairs where the view was great and the noise a bit less. Our server, Tammy, who has an entrancing Irish lilt in her voice, brought us menus, but advised that we should start with one of their cocktails. We followed her advice and ordered a Mojito for my companion and a C4 Cosmos for me. The Cosmos was very good with its mix of orange vodka, triple sec and a splash of cranberry. The Mojito, described as "direct from Havana," blends of white rum with fresh mint leaves, fresh lime and a light syrup and was enjoyed by my companion.
Our luncheon began with Baked Maryland Crabcake accompanied by corn and green pea salsa and saffron mayonnaise at $10.95. It was exceptional as was the cole slaw with it. The bread, which is made on the premises, was another delight. Other appetizers include Crock of Chili, Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail, Steamed Mussels and Clams, Cornmeal Crusted Calamari and Traditional Romaine Caesar Salad. Soup du Jour is $4.50 and other appetizers are from $5.95.
We relaxed as we awaited the arrival of our entrees. Channel 4 is a great place for relaxing tensions. We shared Wasabi Crusted Tuna Steak, which came with jasmine rice, asparagus and ginger garlic sauce at $17.95 and Grilled Chicken Cobb Salad with avocado, eggs, crisp bacon, tomato and Roquefort dressing at $16.95. Both were delicious. Other entrees include Roasted Chicken stuffed with goat cheese, Roast Rack of Lamb, Sirloin Steak, Seared Atlantic Salmon, Crusted Red Snapper, Grilled Tuna Nicoise, Ricotta Cheese Ravioli, Penne with Sauteed Jumbo Shrimp and Chicken Parmigiana. Prices are from $13.95 to $23.95 for Filet Mignon.
Our wines were Talus Shiraz for me and Zonin Terre Palladiane Pinot Grigio for my companion. On my next visit I would like to sip a bit of Doghouse Charlies Chardonnay. The wines are described with suggestions of which foods they would best enhance.
For those who want a lighter snack there are sandwiches, such as NBC Supreme Sirloin Hamburger with onion rings, C4 Seared Fresh Tuna, Southwestern Beef Wrap, Radio City Grilled Chicken Breast, and Rockefeller Center French Dip of Warm Roast Beef at $11.95 to $14.95.
Specialties are alwasy available, such as Chicken Pot Pie, Shepherd's Pie, Fish 'n Chips, Irish Lamb Stew and omelets from $9.95. The daily Channel 4 Specials menu starts with a choice between soup or house salad followed by either Veal Parmigiana Sandwich, Tortellini with Grilled Chicken, Blackened Filet of Sole, or Bangers and Mash. This special is $15.95.
For dessert we shared a wonderful Crème Brulee and tasted a homemade Chocolate Ice Cream. Desserts are $5 and $6.
We lingered as we got ready to leave, and chatted with Eugene Wilson, the owner-manager who originally came from Dublin although he is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. He told us there are private rooms which can accommodate up to 80 people. This is a charming place and an oasis in the bustle of midtown.
Hours: Lunch and Dinner from 11:30a.m. to Midnight daily. Complimentary Buffet from 5 to 7 Monday -Friday during the Happy Hour.
On a recent afternoon when we arrived for lunch at Brasserie Les Halles, 411 Park Avenue South at 29th Street, 212 679-4111, we were seated and turned over to John-Paul, who is originally from Wisconsin, but has spent the last 15 years in Europe. Les Halles is a French brasserie which opens at 7:30 a.m. and closes at midnight seven days a week. It is informal and known for such French delights as escargot, onion soup, mussels, sausages, coq au vin, and choucroute garni. Diners can order steaks or full meals at any time.
After consulting with our server we began with cocktails - a Negroni for my companion and a Jack Daniels Sour for me. A specialty of the day was Duck Carpaccio done with a spicy Harissa dressing - it was very good. Our other appetizer was Frisee aux Lardons, frisee lettuce with bacon and Roquefort croutons. We noted that the bread was crusty and fresh.
From the extensive wine list of many bottles from France, but also a number from other parts of the world, we selected glasses of Sançerre Selection Les Halles for my companion and St Estephe, Chatêau Tronquoy-Lalande for me. Wines can be ordered by the bottle, the half-bottle or by the glass. Wine prices run from $7.50 for Chardonnay by the glass to Taittinger by the glass at $18. Bottles start at $28 for a Côte du Rhone to Coron-Charlemagne Corton at $800. There is a wide variety of wines at many prices and a number of beers from several countries.
For our entrees we shared Paleron Brise au Gingembre, a lean top blade braised in port wine, ginger and spices, accompanied by celery root puree and French green beans. It was delicious. Our second entrée was Filet du Boeuf Béarnaise. The sauce was tops and the French Fries were great. Other specialties include Boudin aux Pommes, blood sausage, Cassoulet "Toulousain," Mignon de Porc "Maison." Steak Tartare, Steak au Poivre, Tripes d'agneau Provençale, Hamburger Rossini and Côtes D'agneau Grillées Au Romarin. In addition to these meat choices there are Poulet Roti, Demi Carnard Roti, Sauce Grenade et Gratin de Navet, roasted half a duck with pomegranate sauce, turnip and potato gratin. Moules Marinières, Noix de St. Jacques Poêles, pan-seared scallops with champagne sauce, Saumon Bordellos with leeks, fennel, red wine shallot sauce and Grilled Tuna. For these entrees prices are from $14.50 to $28.50 for the entrecote.
Café Platters include Assiette de Charcutailles, Chicken Sandwich with frites, Salade Nicoise, Ravioles de Royans, Merguez (Moroccan lamb sausage) with frites and salade. These "assiettes" are $11.50 for salade to 15.50 for Confit de Canard.
Amuse-Gueules or appetizers include Escargots, Terrine du Jour, Foie Gras Poele aux Pommes and Saumon d'Ecosse Fumé. Salade Vert is $6.75 and the Foie Gras is $16.50.
We nibbled and enjoyed ourselves as we sipped our wine. We felt we were in Paris. The décor evokes the best of Parisian brasseries and the typically French food is excellent.
Desserts are so tempting. With appropriate flourishes John-Paul whipped up Crêpes Suzettes for us and it was a perfect conclusion to our dejeuner.
Chef-at-large Anthony Bourdain, who writes great books and hosted the Food Network's "Cook's World Tour," is currently featured on the Travel Channel in his new show, "No Reservations." He is responsible for all three Les Halles brasseries in Miami, Washington, D.C. and this his home base. Carlos Laguneo Garcia is the executive chef in New York City.
Brasserie Les Halles has a "Butcher's Choices" where those who want to prepare food at home can purchase beef, veal, pork, rabbit, sausages and duck by the pound. The butcher shop if open seven days a weeks from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Hours: Seven days a week. 7:30 a.m. to midnight. Saturday and Sunday Brunch
The dollar sign indicates the approximate cost of dining for two persons, excluding beverages, tax and gratuity.