My Favorite Restaurant


I was intrigued to read a piece in the New Yorker by restaurant critic Adam Gopnik, claiming that the Veau d’Or (on 60th Street between Park and Lex) was “mystically comforting.” (Zagat uses the word “magic.”). This came as a slight surprise, as though Francie Train had gotten on the Best Dressed list, since the Veau d’Or is my regular hangout: my cantine, as they say in French.

I wouldn’t know the greatest restaurant in town, which is probably frightfully expensive, but the Veau d’Or is the one I like best overall. It’s halfway between a restaurant and a brasserie, and approaches being a sort of club. The charming patronne is likely to pull up to your table and chat, and likes to introduce the regulars to each other. When you’re done, they go out and bring you a cab – plentiful in that region.

As you walk down the street you can recognize when you’ve arrived by a substantial row of books in the window – odd, except that they are books whose authors are also customers and which mention the restaurant.

The Veau d’Or customers are usually pleasantly turned out, but not necessarily in coat and tie business attire. A number of them are writers.

It is quite an ancient establishment – almost 80 years old – which I used to visit as a young fellow, and has the mellow, confident French flavor this implies. Half the seats are banquettes and half are chairs. It’s quiet. In recent years one hasn’t needed a reservation.

To this day I’ve not fully explored the bistro-style menu, but some of the dishes I particularly like are the vichysoisse (perhaps the best in town), artichoke vinaigrette, rack of lamb, the salade verte, a delicious warm apple tart, and a house dessert called rum parfait…try it!