Caity: This restaurant was like a restaurant J.Lo would assignment in for the aboriginal forty account of one of her movies.
Rich: It was several layers of drag. It was a restaurant masquerading as a alternation car, and also, a alternation car restaurant masquerading as a adorned restaurant.
Caity: It was the affectionate of restaurant where, aback you airing in for the aboriginal time, it’s absolutely like you bethink it. It was actual accessible to ad-lib a affected anamnesis of my grandmother demography me there as a kid, alike admitting I had never been to Bloomingdale’s before.
Rich: Yeah, and this was your FAVORITE restaurant. Now I’m in your memory.
Caity: Are you a developed man in my memory, or are you a adolescent child?
Rich: I’m a man, who’s bedlam at you.
Caity: Oh, I don’t like that. Let’s get out of here.
Le Alternation Bleu, amid on the 6th attic of Bloomingdale’s.
À la carte.
Rich: This train-styled restaurant is affectionate of a abstruse restaurant but it isn’t absolutely a “secret.” There were signs for it in the elevator. I was acquisitive we’d accept to absolutely FIND it, and that it would be hard. I was acquisitive for an adventure. It’s affectionate of New York’s best-known secret.
Caity: It was a little adamantine to find. We had to ask for admonition in the baggage department.
Rich: We didn’t HAVE to, you aloof did immediately.
Caity: Well, anyway, we activate it and accede God. To access the restaurant, you airing abaft a coffee affectation and up some plushly carpeted stairs. All of a sudden—BOOM—you’re in advanced of an old-timey alternation car, and it feels absolutely special. It feels like a New York Treat.
Rich: Aloof like that! It’s like the Hogwarts Express or the Polar Express or something.
Caity: A magic, quasi-old alternation is basically everyone’s adolescence dream, right? Imagine if Harry Potter had pulled up to Hogwarts in an airport taxi. That cruise is like two hours, door-to-door if you fly. A protracted, breathtaking alternation ride lends a abstracted accent to any kids’ story.
Rich: You charge time to anticipate about how altered you are from the added children.
Rich: We are anon greeted by the woman who would be our waitress. She is cutting a lab coat. Her name is Gloria. She affectionate of looks through you, in a way that Whoopi Goldberg or Jackie Christie from Basketball Wives L.A. might.
Caity: Yes, all the servers (all both of them) were cutting white jackets abstract with the restaurant logo in dejected thread. The aftereffect was added pharmacy than affluence locomotive, but I accepted that they took a swing.
Rich: Gloria was into her job. Actual Disney.
Caity: If Bloomingdale’s is the best day-tripper allure in Bloomingdale’s and Le Alternation Bleu is the additional best, Gloria takes home the bronze, and there’s no abashment in that. I admired her a lot. She was allowance us to accomplish absolute New York memories. Afore she brought us our waters, she asked “Would you like some New York algid baptize or do you adopt bottled?”
Rich: Acceptable old New York iced. Class is authoritative bargain bodies feel like they’re indulging.
Caity: Again she told us the specials for what I’m activity to conservatively appraisal was 41 minutes.
Rich: After she finished, she assured us she would “go over them afresh a few added times.”
Caity: At a assertive point, Gloria, a affiance becomes a threat.
I anticipate she promised to echo herself because she anticipation we were morons who Were Not Getting It. You had a lot of questions about the craven agreeable of specific dishes: “Is it craven stock? Are there pieces of craven in it? Is it craven banal with pieces of craven amphibian in it? What is a chicken? Which came first: the chicken, the egg, or my questions?”
Rich: I eat fish, but that’s it in agreement of animals. I will about-face a dark eye to craven stock, alike a WILLFULLY dark eye, as continued as it’s banal and not pieces. That’s area I draw the line. This is complicated and I roped Gloria into my blend of a life. She went aback into the kitchen and we could apprehend her allurement anniversary question. “I don’t know, that’s what they said, ‘Chicken or the egg?'”
Caity: Yes, complete carries because it is a VERY baby restaurant. In a acceptable way. It’s cozy. And you accept a nice appearance into some strangers’ brilliant apartments.
Caity: I ordered the French Onion. It was DELICIOUS. A absolute French onion from alpha to finish.
Rich: I got a Caesar Salad. The California cycle of salads. The Caesar bathrobe was not altogether mixed; I like aback it’s so analogously alloyed that I anticipate it’s aloof a actual appropriate bill that has chrism advancing out of its claret membrane. But it was good!
Caity: After our appetizers, Gloria came about with some aliment in a little metal basket. Le Alternation Bleu does that amusement area they use adorned tongs to abode ONE cycle on your aliment plate, which is fine—I adulation glamor, I adulation tongs—but, aback it comes to bread: I can handle it. Leave the basket. I’ll booty it from there.
When it came time to aces our entrees, I tiptoed through the all-overs minefield that is agreement an adjustment for Mussels Marinière. I didn’t appetite to be THAT GIRL acclimation mussels MAHREENYAIH, so I went with “mussels marynair,” like an American mom in Paris. And again Gloria was like, “The moules! The moules are wonderful!” She acclimated French that wasn’t alike on the menu!
Rich: I got the Puttanesca (or as Gloria arresting it application every beef in her face, “Putin NESKA”). It was great, absolutely the best access I’ve gotten in our adventure through New York’s best cool bistro spaces. The seafood—scallops, mussels, clams—was fresh. Or if it was frozen, it was absolutely acceptable at assuming not to be. The booze was altogether acrid acknowledgment to the olives and capers. And the allocation was big! It was a behemothic bowl! If you put this basin on my arch to cut my beard with, you’d fail! You’d be a behemothic fucking idiot.
Caity: My moules were disappointing.
They were a acceptable size, but tasted like air, and two of ’em hadn’t opened. The accompanying frites were like McDonald’s chips with sea alkali on them (no complaints!). I admired I had gotten the burger instead.
Dessert was additionally a little black for me. We ordered the Crème Brûlée, which the card adumbrated was this train’s signature dish. It was OK. It was the signature agnate of an X.
Rich: It wasn’t a wow. It was a “Well…”
Rich: I anticipate the activity about Le Alternation Bleu is that the aliment is aloof acceptable abundant to not ruin the experience, which is one of ambiance and atmosphere. Although the atmosphere was affectionate of weird, too, because the music was accepted old timey and French book (Édith Piaf; Frank Sinatra; added accordion than I’ve anytime heard in one abode in my absolute LIFE) plus…James Taylor?
The afterward things were adorable:
1. The aerial alcove for your bag.
2. The Vacant/Occupied about-face on the bath aperture at the rear of the train/dining room.
3. The age-old woman with blush beard who was a waitress aback the time that the alternation car we were dining in was absolutely in service. (It was never in account — this woman was beyond years old.)
Caity: This absolutely acquainted like a restaurant run by and for grandparents. Aback we got aback to the office, I looked up Le Alternation Bleu online and saw addition had larboard it a one-star review. That aching my feelings.
Rich: That is hurtful! They try!
It absolutely was a casting of weirdos, though. Bodies kept accomplishing mild, awkward things about us. Gloria said to the table abaft you, “OK, you’re not eating, what’s activity on?”
Caity: That was a adopted woman bistro alone. She explained that she was full. There was a aerial allotment of bodies bistro alone. The audience consisted primarily of actual old New Yorkers reliving the affluence biking accomodations of their youth, and actual adolescent adopted tourists who had absitively to eat cafeteria central a gigantic, big-ticket gift shop.
Rich: There was additionally a babe cutting behemothic Beats by Dre headphones who was dining with what looked to be her grandparents. She kept them on the accomplished time. What an ingrate.
Caity: The analysis took about 25 account to access from the time we asked for it. Aback it assuredly arrived, it did accommodate a nice surprise: Free soda refills! So adamantine to appear by in New York City. If you are acutely agog and in no hurry, this is the restaurant for you.
It was additionally odd. The analysis was odd.
“I’m a little slow. I add two or three times,” Gloria said. Get this woman a calculator, or I don’t know, if you wanna be old fashioned, get her an abacus.
And again the acclaim blooper was on carbon paper! (Just kidding. Aloof a little old timey amusement to go with your accordion score.)
Caity: Agreed. It didn’t assume fair that Gloria had to do all the algebraic herself, longhand, because we were not absolutely on a alternation car in the 1890s. But I assumption that’s aloof activity on the rails.
Questions about the Dining Experience
Caity: While the American Babe Café charcoal the gold accepted by which I adjudicator all New York restaurants, I would absolutely go aback for some onion soup and a nice big bottle of New York’s acclaimed algid water. I appetite to booty an continued layover through the acreage of anamnesis on that quasi-old timey affected train. I appetite to adjustment a altered entree.
Rich: As you said, activity there already feels like activity back, so activity aback to activity aback is some Inception-type shit. I assumption if I went aback I’d accompany Marion Cotillard. The Édith Piaf would advice her feel appropriate at home.
Caity: No. I would not feel adequate activity there with addition I didn’t apperceive well. It’s a actual off-kilter experience, but not in the over-the-top blatant way of bubbler albino in a awe-inspiring dolltopia for millionaires. You appetite this abode to succeed, but you additionally appetite to be able to accede its weirdness. The affections are too circuitous for a aboriginal date.
Also, the airing to the restaurant through the baggage administration would annihilate the mood, I think.
Rich: That makes sense. I would booty a alternation aqueduct or MTA artisan or Under Siege 2 enthusiast there for a aboriginal date, but no one else.
Caity: It is an accomplished abode to accept an affair: secluded, sparsely populated, AND if addition spots you at Bloomingdale’s—Big accord I’m at Bloomingdale’s! I had to buy something! I ran into my afar neighbor, Alain, here! Big deal!
Rich: Trains are affectionate of y. See Madonna’s “Justify My Love” (“I wanna…make adulation in a train, cantankerous country”). I say yes to railway affairs.
Caity: I anticipate Gloria would accept had a lot to say to a doll, and every baby should accept a adventitious to pretend to biking the world. So yes.
Rich: No. I anticipate Gloria would accept no time for such nonsense! There’s alone allowance for one baby on this affected alternation and it’s Gloria.
There are a agglomeration of restaurants in the world, including some in New York City. But in a burghal of over 24,000 restaurants, how do you acquisition the best? You activate your chase in places that are already popular: New York’s hottest day-tripper destinations. In The Best Restaurant in New York Is, writers Caity Weaver and Rich Juzwiak attack to actuate the best restaurant in New York. Photos by Caity Weaver and Rich Juzwiak
Previously: The Best Restaurant in New York IsLOX at The Jewish Museum; The American Babe Café
There are a agglomeration of restaurants in the world, including some in New York City. But in a burghal of…
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