Old Menus: Cafe Chambord

June 17, 2015

  Scan 5

 Why do I even have these menus?  No idea.  I suspect that a reader sent them to me, as a special treat, when I was at the Los AngelesTimes.  Otherwise I have no explanation for the presence of a menu belonging to a restaurant that closed about the time that I was born.

But I do remember my parents talking about Cafe Chambord, which opened in 1936; Mom said it reminded her of the bistros she went to in Paris when she was at the Sorbonne. It was, she said, small and rather rustic. At least in the beginning.  Then, in 1942, owner Roger Chauveron got his hands on a great wine cellar at a bargain price.  He'd worked at all of New York's one-named big-deal hotels – The Ritz, The Plaza, The Astor, The Commodore – and now he raised the level of the food to match his swell new wine list. Before long it had become a favorite haunt of the French emigres flooding to New York to escape the war. They were soon joined by prominent New Yorkers (the Rockefellers), and movie stars (Greta Garbo was a fan).  

Chauveron sold the restaurant in 1950 and went back to France.  He didn't stay long; in 1955 he was back to open Cafe Chauveron.  I never went there either, but here's Gael Greene's paean to that restaurant. 

Scan 6

Categorised in:


  • if you want to get rid of them, try your local library….often they have a collection of old menus….or at least the St. Louis Public Library does…it’s amazing

  • Gourmand Moe says:

    I agree Julie. I’m sure a local library or even a gourmet food/resteraunt would love to have that for their collection. Keep up the good work Miss Ruth, you are the greatest.

  • rowena says:

    I was a very lucky 16 year old whose father brought her often to Cafe Chauveron to have lunch. I remember the mussels in a white wine sauce and the tournedos rossini but especially the chocolate mousse cake with a sabayon sauce. The owner told my father that
    it was originally an accident by putting too much butter in a mousse but it was good and the dessert was placed on the menu.
    I have been looking for the recipe. Are there any books that have recipes from Cafe Chauveron?

  • Richard Moore says:

    Had the good fortune of having lunch several times at Cafe Chauveron before it closed. Remember having slices of a cold stuffed veal roll ( I believe) with a sweetish, red-colored sauce. Cumberland perhaps. Would love to hear from someone who could authenticate that or set me straight. And, get the recipe. Many thanks.

  • Jean says:

    Hi from Paris.
    Very interesting document.
    Thank you.

  • Mary Remillong says:

    Can never forget the bouillabaisse. It would be my deathbed meal! Cannot find a recipe, though I imagine you’d need 100 lbs of fishbones to make that incredible stock!