Once upon a time, in a mid-century New York City of yore, the only “good” restaurants were French restaurants. Namedropping with an exceptional French accent meant that you knew what fine dining was in New York City. America's ample agricultural resources were being replaced by industrialized factories and farming initiatives at breakneck speed. Young American chefs looked to the Old Country as a guide on what to eat, where to go and how to eat it. Fussy dishes like sole a la meuniere and lobster thermidor were the height of chic, and rich, buttery sauces were the name of the game.
While these heavy-hitting classics do still retain some luster, there is much more to French food than meets the lobster press. Fortunately, new world French cooking has reinvented French fare in these Etats Unis, coupling impeccable technique with bold flavors, local products and fresh seafood straight from the Atlantic. Now, at tables across New York City, chefs serve French cuisine with different degrees of American accents. From Eric Ripert's tireless pursuit of perfection at Le Bernardin, to La Grenouille's decades of elevating the old guard, to Benoit's cassoulet in winter, or neighborhood favorites like La Mirabelle and La Bonne Soupe, New York has no shortage of delightful French dining at every price point.