Written by Hulda Lawrence
Diners looking for a charming and sublime place need look no further than Paris Commune at 99 Bank Street, (212) 929-0509. This delightful, good-sized corner is full of light and sports very high ceilings. Italian artist Bill Rancitelli has painted beautiful and very large Folies Bergère showgirls on the walls.
Executive Chef David Ogren has taken many a dish and made them his own. Right at the top of the breakfast and brunch menus appears Gingerbread made in house of seasonal fruit, whipped mascarpone cream, and confectioner's sugar. Since ginger is one of my favorite things I couldn't wait until it arrived as my dessert.
The menus are complete, full of variety and geared to help those watching their budgets. There is a three-course pre-theatre menu at $25 per person Sunday to Thursday; $30 on Friday and Saturday. They have recently adjusted the dinner menu to provide for prix-fixe choices available for the whole evening.
We began to relax in this sunny atmosphere, and from the cocktail menu we chose a Gingerita for me, made with fresh ginger, served on the rocks with lime and ginger slices; while my companion selected La Voiture D'Etoiles, a classic Side Car served ice cold straight up. Other drinks include Mango Mojito and Kiwi Coq Tail.
As there were so many fascinating foods on the lunch menu we tried to have tastes of some. For $12 we could have a special of Field Green Salad or Chicken Soup with Walnut-Cranberry Salad on Croissant or Meat Loaf. We tried them all and enjoyed them. Portions are generous.
From the lunch entrees we enjoyed Walnut-Cranberry Chicken Salad and delicious large Moules Frites. Other specials we'll try on our next visit are Duck Confit Sandwich, Lemon Chicken, Steak Frites, and Paris Commune Burger. Prices are most reasonable, running from $8 (for chicken soup) to $18 for steak frites. The Meat Loaf was exceptional, dressed with a spicy tomato sauce, brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes.
The dinner menu provides a plat du jour starting with Seared Scallops on Monday, Grilled Lamb Chops on Tuesday, Grilled Pork Chop on Wednesday, Braised Lamb Shank on Thursday, Oxtail Bourguignon on Friday, Grilled Sword Fish on Saturday, and on Sunday Roasted Duck Breast. Plats du Jour are $24 to $26.
Dinner appetizers include Duck Pate (to share), Lobster Cakes, Onion Tart, Escargot Flambe and Salmon Tartar.
Wines and liquors are presented either by the glass, half bottle or bottle. My choice was a Merlot Caladoc, Domaine du Grapillon d'Or from France. My companion chose Pinot Grigio, Vigneti del Sole from Italy: both were $9. Champagne also is available by the glass at $10.
Desserts include Creme Brulee, Pot du Chocolat, Spiced Pumpkin Fritters, Poached Pear, Maple-Pecan Bread Pudding, and an assortment of cheeses $8 to $14. There is a variety of after dinner drinks from $10 to $13.
There also is an interesting brunch menu with special "coq tails"The Green Fairy, Bloody Maria, Basic Mary, Oscar Wilde and Marie Antoinette at $25. The others are $8 and $9. Brunch starts with the made in the house warm Gingerbread, followed by French toast, Eggs Creole, Eggs any style, Lobster Benedict, and Pork Trotter. For $16.95 diners can order any item off the menu with coffee or tea and a Bloody Mary or Mimosa.
This is a superior and reasonable place. The service and advice were most helpful from waitress Jaqueline. Owners Hugo Uys and Jaime Martinez cater to the artist elite, but you do not have to be an artist to enjoy the food and ambiance. Down below there are private rooms for celebrating.
The iconic Sanford White building at 132 West 44th Street, (212) 997-5262, now the Chatwal Hotel and the Lambs Club, opened in 1905 as home to the prestigious Lambs, Americas first professional theatrical club, organized in 1874 by a group of actors and enthusiasts. Since the club's founding there have been more than 6000 Lambs, with an elite roster reading like Who's Who of American theatreJohn Barrymore, Irving Berlin, Cecil B. Demille, Charlie Chaplin, George M. Cohen, John Wayne, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein, Spencer Tracy and Fred Astaire. The building has been given a strong face lift and now the famous Lambs Club is welcoming members and those who wish to enjoy its restaurant located in the Chatwal Hotel. Although the hotel is independent, the Lambs Club has several event spaces taking care of a number of seated and standing patrons.
The other afternoon, when we dropped in for a drink, we enjoyed Gold Rush, bourbon, lemon and honey and the biggest ice cube in the world, along with the Lambs Cup of gin, bianco vermouth, St. Germain, cucumber and citrus, ginger. Each was $18.
Since the restaurant is in the hotel, food is available for breakfast, lunch, dinner and theatre prix fixe dinner at $44.
Hot breakfast entrees include any style eggs, $12; Eggs Norway,$16; Chicken Fried Steak and Poached Eggs, $19; McCann's Irish Oatmeal, $10 and Lemon Ricotta Pancakes, $15. Cold specials are Grilled Grapefruit, Yogurt Granola Parfait, $10; Catskills Smoked Salmon, $19 and a Pastry Tier, $16. There are a variety of coffee, teas and juices.
Lunch starts with "everything bread" a delicious warm introduction. There is a $32 lunch which provides Lambs Club Salad or Richard's Vegetable Soup, Chicken Paillard or Sirloin Burger and a dessert course of $8 supplement: Chocolate Pot de Creme or Home Made Ice Creams and Sorbets.
A la carte luncheon choices are Lambs Club Salad, $14; Marinated Hanger Steak Salad, $26; Raw Marinated Hamachi, $15; Seared Sea Scallops, $28 and Maine Lobster Roll at $32. The Theatre Prix Fixe at $44 provides three courses with appetizers of Heirloom Beets, White Gazpacho with Peekytoe Crab and Green Grapes, Lambs Club Salad, Six Oysters or Classic Shrimp Cocktail.
The main courses are a choice of Farm Chicken, Seared Sea Scallops or Heritage Pork Chop. Dessert is Chocolate Pot de Creme, Rustic Fruit and Honey Pistachio Cake.
A la carte Dinner appetizers are Veal Sweetbread, $19; Foie Gras Terrine, $25; Chilled Melon Serrano Ham, $16; Beef Tartare, $21 or Grilled Octopus at $16.
Main courses are Roasted Lamb Saddle, $39; Roasted Sturgeon, $34; Chatham Cod, $31 and Prime Delmonico Steak at $48.
Geoffrey Zakarian is the chef along with Executive Chef Joel Dennis; they and Margaret Zakarian are important people in the Lambs Club. Will Regan, David Rabin, Jeffrey Jah also were involved in the opening of this new restaurant.
Hours: Breakfast: Daily 7 a.m.to 10 a.m. Sat. & Sun. 7 a.m. -11 a.m.
The dollar sign indicates the approximate cost of dining for two persons, excluding beverages, tax and gratuity.