This local hangout, owned by Philippe Lajaunie since 1990 and benefiting from the celebrity of former executive chef and writer/TV host Anthony Bourdain (although he has little to do with the restuarant these days), is boisterous and unpretentious—just like a true French brasserie. A good bet is steak frites—with fries regarded by some as the best in New York. Other prime choices include crispy duck-leg confit with frisée salad, blood sausage with caramelized apples,
and steak tartare, prepared table-side. Another Les Halles is in Lower Manhattan at 15 John St.
Sep 10, 2000
After reading Kitchen Confidential, I had to eat at Les Halles. I wasn't prepared for the noise level and crowding, although I've eaten at many brasseries and bistros in France. The noise was so loud, my date and I couldn't hold a conversation. Plus, the room was incredibly hot. So there I sat, perspiring heavily, slightly dazed by the sounds bouncing off the walls and ceiling, trying to have a good time. Then, the woman seated next to me on
the banquette, only about five inches away, stabs into an escargot, which explodes, spraying boiling butter all over the left side of my hair, face, and clothing. Her hand was burned badly and the waiter brought ice for it, but her and our meals were ruined. The kitchen obviously cooked the escargot under a broiler and brought it to the table actually boiling.