NYCReview

Balthazar review image
7.8

Balthazar

$$$$212-965-1414
Hours:SAT
8AM-1AM

Balthazar is always a scene. Like a one-martini-and-peep-toe-heel-away-from-Samantha-Jones scene. You’ll run into plenty of regulars, like the teacher posted up at the bar at 8pm downing a decaf cappuccino and a scoop of vanilla ice cream who told us Balthazar serves the city’s best whipped cream. (We can neither confirm nor deny at this time.) Next to the regulars sit Soho shoppers and Gen Z kids wearing camo bucket hats who heard about this restaurant from TikTok. It’s an undeniably weird mix for a traditional French brasserie that opened in 1997—but the frenetic energy is what makes Balthazar worth visiting for a night of paying too much money for escargot and French onion soup.

Breakfast and lunch here work nicely for a meeting or whenever you’d like to present someone with a nice salad and freshly-baked bread. But nighttime is when things get more fun. We always order the steak frites served with a whole-ass beurre blanc dipping sauce on the side (as does much of the crowd sitting in the dining room). Admittedly, you could plop this $43 New York strip or ribeye into an Outback Steakhouse and no one would have the slightest clue. It’s totally unremarkable. The crispy pinky-sized fries though, you’ll probably want an extra order of. 

Noah Devereaux

Balthazar review image

Despite the crowds, you can usually walk in and get a bar seat if you’re there a bit before 7pm or a bit after 9pm. That’s the ideal move. It means more eavesdropping and face time with the strangers who make Balthazar what it is. 

If high prices and scene-y restaurants bother you, you’re going to hate everything about Balthazar (and Soho at large, for that matter). But if you’re in the area with tiny martini stars in your eyes, it’s one of those places you should probably check out. 

Food Rundown

Onion Soup Gratine

Unsexy, rich, and uncomplicated. Why not?

Balthazar review image

Escargot

You either love escargot or you don't. (Maybe you had a pet snail growing up, and this plate repluses you.) Balthazar's escargot won't change your snail passions or lackthereof, but it's a very good, very garlicky version.

Balthazar review image

Steak Frites

This steak isn't very fatty, and ultimately, the piece of meat doesn't feel buttery or bloody or deluxe. But it's well-cooked (pink in the middle, char marks on the outside), and the fries are perfect. We always get this dish even though we know it's overpriced. We're sorry if that's not helpful. We're just people, you know?

Balthazar review image

Frites

Even if your particular meal situation doesn't call for steak or mussels, get some frites for the table. We once sat next to someone at the bar who got nothing but fries and left. We love that person, whoever they are.

Le Panier

Yes, this fancy French bread basket costs 22 dollars. Try the monkey bread, and tell us that you regret your decision to order it. You won't be able to. (Although you should know this bread party is only available at breakfast.)

Balthazar review image

Brioche French Toast

Balthazar's breakfast of champions. Two slices of of applewood smoked bacon lounging on buttery, sugar-dusted French toast. You could always get the $12 green juice instead. But why on earth would you do that?

Balthazar review image

Featured in

.
The NYC Brunch Directory guide image
Guide
The NYC Brunch Directory

All the best brunch options in NYC, all in one place.

The Best Restaurants In Soho guide image
Guide
The Best Restaurants In Soho

Where to eat in a neighborhood known for tourists, high-end boutiques, and the occasional random dental clinic.

The Best Restaurants Where You Can Bring Your Own Wine guide image
Guide
The Best Restaurants Where You Can Bring Your Own Wine

Where to go when you know exactly what you want to drink, and you don’t mind paying to bring it in.

Where To Have Dinner With Clients guide image
Guide
Where To Have Dinner With Clients

12 places to take clients when you need something impressive.

Suggested Reading

.
The Odeon review image
Review
The Odeon

Around since 1980, The Odeon is a New York City classic. It may not be the same downtown destination that it was thirty years ago, but they still serve very respectable bistro food and stiff drinks, and brunch is always reliable.

Frenchette review image
9.1
Review
Frenchette

Frenchette is a French brasserie in Tribeca with an energetic room and a constantly-changing menu of rich dishes.

Raoul’s review image
Review
Raoul’s

Raoul’s has been a Soho institution since the '70s. If you can’t have a good time at this French bistro, you probably can’t have a good time anywhere.

Harold’s review image
Review
Harold’s

Harold’s is a big restaurant at the bottom of a hotel in Soho. The food is solid, but not especially exciting.