Les Halles: So Authentic a Frenchman Loved It

Les Halles Brasserie
Les Halles on Park Avenue South, NY.

I made a visit to a restaurant I’ve been thinking about for many years. Ever since I first read a book by Anthony Bourdain, I’ve known that his place was Les Halles. Tonight I got to visit and enjoyed its authenticity with a Frenchman I met.

I was dipping into the circular pat of butter for my crusty bread, and he commented. “Oh, you like butter, I see,” he said.  His accent detected, I asked him what he was doing here in New York City.  “I am here for my farms, he said.”

I told him that I was here to meet with tourism boards to talk about stories. Then he turned to a blond woman and she said that they have a few farms in New York state, and nine in France. “You should come and see what we do in the Limoges and other provinces,”  he said.

The place was packed and I waited, like many others, standing looking down at my iPhone. Passing the time, trying not to be too eager, to snap up a chair.  I finally got seated and ordered the standard—poli roti and frites. The chicken was crispy and inside it was juicy…and the fries were the way they were meant to be so well fried, so, well, French. The bartender told another patron that she ‘was Brooklyn born and bred.’ She had a flowery tattoo showing on her side.

I asked the desk if they had a card, or something else I could bring back for Francisco, my cooking son-in-law, who loves Bourdain like I do.  “No, we don’t have anything, “ she said, so I settled on my bill, that was only $35 including tip.