A Weekend Rendezvous at La Grenouille

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La Grenouille NYC

Up until this year, I often had to ‘do the math’ to remember how many years Mike and I have been married. Once you pass 15, the years just kinda start flying by.

The last few months leading up to our anniversary I’ve easily answered the question ‘how long have you been married’ because NEXT year will be our 30th. That’s a biggie!

I got a wild hair about a week before our 29th this month to do something spontaneous. Food, wine and travel have always been our shared passion. So, on a whim I booked a last minute weekend trip to the Big Apple…a spot we used to visit every year until our son was born.

One of the highlights of this trip was a lunch at La Grenouille…a fine dining icon in NYC and a place we dined on our very first trip to New York in 1983. Sometimes revisiting a special spot years later can be disappointing. There aren’t many restaurants that maintain exquisite quality for decades.

With high hopes we stepped into the legendary La Grenouille. After receiving a very warm greeting from the maitre’d we took our table in the inviting dining room …a spot that was brimming with beautiful flowers.

Then we perused the menu. It didn’t seem like it had been 30 years since our last visit until we saw the wine list. Back then, an incredible bottle of Chassagne Montrachet was about $100—multiply that by at least 10 and that’s where we are today. We opted for champagne by the glass (a beautiful Laurent Perrier Rosé) and a half bottle of a different Montrachet… not the same wine we shared so many years ago but wonderful nonetheless.

Mike’s main course was La Grenouille’s legendary frog legs which were spectacular…delicate with a light, crisp garlicky breading and sweet to the taste. My red snapper in papillote with a buttery sauce laced with fennel and thyme was delightful.

La Grenouille red snapper

La Grenouille's Papillote of Snapper. Photo Credit: Brie Williams

I asked the maitre’d for a recipe to share with our Goodtaste family, and he gave me the owner’s phone number but said please call late in the morning because the mornings are spent on the flowers.

The flowers in the restaurant are magnificent, but it wasn’t till I visited their website a few days later that I fully understood his comment. La Grenouille’s website says that the restaurant opened its doors during a snowstorm on a quiet night in 1962. And, I quote ‘From the first day there were flowers, just a few roses here and there, but few as they were, this was to be the birth of a tradition.’

The flowers these days at La Grenouille are breathtaking…more than a few roses. We’re talking lilies, peonies, sugar snap pea blossoms and more.

We’ve dined in incredible spots all over the world…many that qualify as ‘fine dining’ and many that are glorious mom and pop spots. Our recent lunch at La Grenouille renewed my faith in traditions. This NYC stalwart is still going strong and holds a very special place in our hearts, not to mention a cachet that few other restaurants of its age can claim.

It’s so rare to ‘go back in time’ and have the same incredible experience that you did years ago. Our memories, by nature, often exaggerate and elevate a good experience. Revisiting La Grenouille after 30 years was spectacular—a delicious, romantic experience. I can’t wait to go back!

Speaking of romantic…I’ll fill you in on the incredible hotel we stayed in soon. Also, how to make the best martini ever!

For more great recipes, dining information and wine info, head to Goodtaste.tv. While you’re there be sure to sign up for my newsletter for a chance to win a Gourmet Getaway at The Houstonian complete with a spa credit at Trellis their award winning spa.

One Response to A Weekend Rendezvous at La Grenouille

Tawana Timberlake says: May 1, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Tanji: First, congratulations on your 30th anniversary! We will be celebrating 37 years on July 19th. Where do those years go? Wish I had known about La Grenouille. We went back to NY for the first time in 26 years last December for the Liz Taylor Auction, and although I did place a bid on a Valentino Red Rose bag – it went for 10 times my bid! We will not stay away that long anymore, and La Grenouille is on my list now!

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