The Golden Calf.
I had a lot of errands to run for Thanksgiving, so I knew I was going to be spending some time in Midtown East. I Googled "best restaurants near Bloomingdales" and started my lunch search from there. One description on the New York Magazine website that stuck out to me was for Le Veau d'Or, where it described this cozy establishment as out of its time, having reached its prime in the 1960's. Another review said that no one under the age of sixty dines here. So this was the winner.
Coincidentally when I Googled Le Veau d'Or, it automatically showed with Anthony Bourdain (surprisingly one of the most influential people in my life nowadays). It turns out, this restaurant was on his No Reservations episode on Disappearing Manhattan. I had no reason not to eat here.
I made lunch plans with my brother, but he told me he had to eat with his friends because he won't be seeing them the entire Thanksgiving weekend (worst brother ever), so I went by myself. This turned out to be the best decision I've made in awhile.
Like most Parisian restaurants, their menu was completely prix fixe: $22 for a three course lunch meal. Not bad at all for sit-down dining in midtown!
I started with the herring in a light cream sauce.
My main course I chose the lamb stew with scalloped potatoes. It was exactly what I needed after a morning of hot yoga and walking in the rain and cold.
For dessert, I made the awesome decision of c'eufs a la neige, or "floating islands." It was this airy meringue served over sweetened milk and caramel, topped with almonds. It was absolutely heavenly.
From the outside, you would have no idea that this restaurant has been here for years and that the old man in a vest and jacket sitting at the front table is actually the owner. His daughter was my hostess and my waitress, and they are both there because they love what they do. The Parisian ambiance of this establishment is quaint, comfortable, and it put a smile straight on my face the moment I stepped in. I got a few looks for being the only single, young, and Chinese diner on the floor, but it was nice. It was different. I got to people watch. The food was not the BEST French food I have ever had, but it was exactly what I needed. It was traditional, familiar, and completely satisfying. The unpretentious presentation, the heart warming food, and the passionate management was the perfect calm before the Thanksgiving storm.
Le Veau d'Or
129 East 60th Street
New York, NY