Gascogne is quite simply one of my favorite restaurants in New York. It’s on my must-go list whenever I’m in Manhattan, and between the international smattering of friends that always join me there, the exquisitely prepared French food, the impeccable choices of (affordable!) French wine the staff helps select and the lively yet intimate atmosphere, every visit is better than the last. In warmer weather they open the back garden patio for dining, adding to the “you’ve just stepped into a piece of Paris” feeling I always get when I walk through the overly-narrow cold-weather double-door, into the cramped bar and on to the restaurant jammed with traditionally European slightly too-small tables which encourage intimate conversations with old and new friends alike.
Tuesday night’s menu included pan-seared foie gras with a pear and honey glaze, confit de canard; my forbidden pleasure of a dish (how can you resist duck that’s been preserved in its own fat… I mean, seriously?!), and Crépes Suzette; crépes and orange zest flambeed in Grand Marnier. Two bottles of French Médoc, a complementary round of cognac from the ever-present Cyril at the bar, and five hours of laughter with friends stopping by the table all night long made for an exquisitely perfect evening.