February 4, 2016
After reading Pete Wells on the wonderful Benoit (I’m also a fan), I couldn’t help thinking about a much earlier version of a New York bistro. So I read Gael Greene’s valentine to the restaurant: Cafe Chambord as Love Object. You should too; if nothing else it says a lot about the difference between then and now.
Le Cafe Chambord opened in 1936 at 801 Third Avenue (across the street from where Smith and Wollensky is today), when the Third Avenue El still cast a shadow over the entire area. Later it moved to East 55th Street, and set up shop on the site of La Cote Basque. But this enormous menu is from the thirties.
And then there was this smaller insert – just a small sampling of the restaurant’s specialties. Which gives a sense of their mad ambitions.
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