Will you remember the classic French bistro dishes at Cafe Luxembourg forever? Absolutely not. But you will remember the experience, and the fact that you may see Fran Lebowitz taking a meeting in a corner booth with two extremely tall people. This classic Upper West Side restaurant (owned by the same team as The Odeon in Tribeca) is more about dining in a dim-lit, red-leather booth institution than it is about any singular plate of food. Having said that, you could order the French onion soup and a martini, and be perfectly satisfied by your meal here.
Aside from the people-watching and occasional slurp of a cold martini, we’ve always believed that the best part of eating at Cafe Luxembourg is the appetizer round. Their French onion soup tastes like a piping hot crock of liquified onions went on a week-long road trip with some cattle and never opened the windows. It’s endlessly rich, and topped with a raft of melted gruyere. There is truly no way to eat this without filling the saucer below the bowl with spilled soup and soggy breadcrumbs. Enjoy.
You could opt for a country frisee with blue cheese, bacon lardon, and a poached egg, but we prefer to go a little lighter with this simple mixed greens salad dressed with a conservative amount of roasted shallot sherry vinaigrette.
What is a meal at an old-timey French bistro without a proper piece of steak and some McDonald’s-esque shoestring fries? There’s nothing wrong with this 8-ounce aged prime rib NY strip steak inherently (the meat is cooked well and you can choose your accompanying sauce). It just feels a bit small and naked on the plate for $42. Our advice? Skip the sauce au poivre, which tastes more like French onion soup concentrate than pepper and cream.
Does this mountain of ice cream-stuffed choux pastry globes taste like it was topped with Hershey’s chocolate sauce? Possibly. Do we continue to order it regardless? Absolutely.