They say it is impolite to stare. But I wonder it does this rule apply only to people or does it also apply to the food they are eating? What if you catch yourself ignoring your companions, while you instead visual stalk a waiter tray in hand, with your eyes clued to the dishes on that tray no matter where he or she moves with nothing breaking your concentration? There is no piece of furniture, fake shrubbery, or even other customers that can distract you. Suddenly you realize drool is coming out of your mouth and you don’t even care. Is that impolite? I wonder. I know that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I think memorizing a lunch menu via the tables around you should count too.
When I first walked in I was in love. It was totally love at first sight. The location is great, right on the corner of 57th street and 6th avenue in New York City. There were some tables outside but the day I went it was raining on and off so I didn’t want to chance it. Definitely next time. Once inside it was like I was transported into a restaurant in Paris. It was beautiful and elegant. I loved that there was plenty of seating and so even though it was mid-day and very crowded I was seated immediately and without a reservation. There was even an entire downstairs I wasn’t aware of at that point which would be perfect for a dinner party or special celebration.
That was pretty much the last calm thought I had before I sat down. Then I lost my mind. I began to smell and see the food. I was reaching for my camera and menu at the same time and couldn’t focus on either. Never mind answering the questions of my cousin who happened to be with me. I was just so happy. I remember feeling like I had a permanent smile on my face. Oh wait, that came later with the food!
Ok so I took some deep breaths and we managed to make some wise decisions. The main reason I wanted to come here was because it offered two of my favorite kinds of food: French and Japanese. I love anything from a French restaurant. I don’t see how you can go wrong. And, sushi- please. I adore it. I knew my original game plan was to try both kinds of cuisine here so I wouldn’t feel like I left anything out. We decided to share a Thai Spicy Tuna Roll, a Grilled Steak Sandwich, and of course an order of Pommes Frites. This way we figured we would have room for dessert. I felt better after we ordered. I felt we choose correctly. But I had ants in my pants watching others getting their food. It was all I could do to sit in my seat and not steal a fry or bite of their cake off their plate. I am told this is poor manners in N.Y.C. and in Paris.
However I needed have worried. My food came right out. Sushi came first. It was fresh and tasty. It was the best I have ever had. It has ruined me for all others which in hindsight is now a huge mistake. But what can you do. Once you know better, you eat in better places.
Next came the steak sandwich and frites. Hmmmm. I will never be able to properly convey this to any of you except say this: when I took my first bite I remember I closed my eyes and felt the huge smile that had to be proudly displayed on my face. I actually danced a little in my seat. I was never happier or more excited to eat. I almost couldn’t bare to eat it because I wanted to scream. It was that good. It looked like a steak sandwich you could get at any French bistro in the city but by God it had gold inside. I don’t even want to know why it was so good. Or so enormous. Thank God we were splitting it in half because each side was almost the size of one hero.
But you know the truly great part of this sandwich? Well it is a trick question. There were two. One was the Swiss cheese. I don’t know where in Switzerland it came from but I must move there A.S.A.P. My next favorite thing was a surprise! There were two onion rings not listed on the menu with this item. Now of course I love onion rings, they are fried. I would eat just about anything fried. I said just about anything, I am not Andrew Zimmern. I am not likely to eat grasshoppers any time soon. That man is nuts. But luckily for me these onion rings were not only safe they were the best onion rings of all time!! No I am serious. They used a sweet onion and while they were thickly cut, the batter was deceiving. They were light as air! Oh my god I am sweating and crying right now I am remembering eating that delicious combo of cheese and onion rings. Now if only that Swiss cheese were on those rings! That is my next mission in life.
Since my food was good beyond measure I was sure to take every last bite. Even when I knew it was going to be a battle. Then we took a break. But we still wanted dessert. Hey you didn’t see what we were seeing! Those people that were ahead of us course wise were taunting us with their cakes and pies. I had to have one. So this time we each got our own. I got a cappuccino and the cheesecake. I have to try the cheesecake everywhere I go (http://bit.ly/LTjQF1). My cousin got a coffee and the warm apricot cherry cobbler that came with cherry ice cream. We tasted each other’s but liked our own choices the best. We did our best to finish and came in close, but the desserts won.
As I sit here and relive this experience for your benefit I am full all over again. It was one of those meals you will be satisfied with every time you think about it because it was money and time well spent. More importantly it is now on the top of my list of go to restaurants and that is just priceless.
I strongly recommend this restaurant. If you don’t want to go, that’s fine more cheese and onion rings for me.
For Rue 57: