IF, like it happened to me, your Christmas Eve plans were suddenly cancelled (Egad!), there’s still time to find a charming restaurant where you can have a meal fit for the occasion, with great atmosphere, fine food, and plenty of champagne.
The latest venture by one of New York City’s most famous restaurateurs, Keith McNally (owner of Balthazar, Morandi, Schiller’s Liquor Bar, and the late Pastis). Cherche Midi was instantly adopted as a go-to French bistro by discerning Manhattanites. The steak frites is excellent, served with an ultra creamy Béarnaise sauce.
When this Nolita spot opened in the early 2000’s, it raised the bar for NYC restaurants, in terms of both food and décor. Designed by the award-winning firm Avroko, it wowed diners with sculptural lighting and a mix of rustic and glamorous furnishings (a style that everyone copied thereafter). Chef Brad Farmerie’s global fusion cuisine feels fresh and modern to this day.
This is one of my all-time favorite restaurants in NYC. Wallsé, which occupies a lovely corner building in the West Village, specializes in Austrian-inspired food. The service is perfect- attentive and unobtrusive. Also perfect: the atmosphere (not loud, elegant yet unfussy). And the wine list is to die for. I can’t resist a glass of good Sekt.
I usually like to pair oysters with rosé bubbles, but I have to say Maison Premiere’s suggestion of pairing them with Absinthe (there are about a dozen varieties on the menu, selected by two expert mixologists) is more than intriguing. This Brooklyn spot, decorated like an Old-World tavern, is both highbrow and casual. And they also have champagne, for classicists.