April 22, 2016
Writing about it in Tender at the Bone, I called the restaurant where I learned to waitress “L’Escargot”. But it was, in reality, La Seine, and it was one of the most extraordinary restaurants I’ve ever encountered.
It was a dream of a place, that tried to offer the best of everything to a city unprepared to dine on Limoges or drink from Baccarat. As I remember it – can this be true?- the silver chandelier had once belonged to the Prince of Wales. The chef was “a real Frenchman” who had worked with the legendary Henri Charpentier (who invented crepes Suzettes and wrote a wonderful autobiography, Life a la Henri). The grill man, another pro, came from Detroit’s London Chop House. The minimum wage at the time was $1 an hour (which is what I earned at my other job shelving books in the University of Michigan library), but I took home $35 every night I worked at La Seine. No wonder I loved that restaurant.
Here’s the menu; that Dover Sole at $6.25, by the way, was the real thing. An entire fish, which we boned at the table.
And here, from Tender at the Bone is a little about my first day at La Seine:
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