Benoit

by cochrancj

Old school French bistro that’s been around since 1912 in the theater district.

What We Had

We were on our way to a show (Sirs Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen in Waiting For Godot – which was fantastic), so we both opted for selections off the pre theater prix fixe menu.

I had the cheese soufflé, braised pork cheeks, and apple & pear crepe with vanilla bean ice cream.

My DH had the cheese soufflé, mussels and frites, and the cheese selection for dessert.

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The cheese soufflé (we both had shaved truffle over top) was divine. Pillowy, moist, cheesy and rich – it was truly a fantastic start to the meal.

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My pork cheeks were ridiculously good and scratched an itch for broth I didn’t even know I had. The cheeks were tender and the accompanying root vegetables were good, but the real star here was the cooking liquid. Reduced to the point of stickiness, it was the very essence of pork – intensely flavored, deeply fragrant and something I’d like to stick my face into a vat of.

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My DH’s mussels & frites were great – nice crispy fries, good quality mussels – and a good portion of them.

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My apple dessert was fantastic. Not too sweet and not whopping huge, it fit the after dinner bill perfectly.

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My DH’s cheese plate was also great – a nice bleu, a runny Brie, and a mild hard cheese with all the usual accompaniments.

Decor

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Warm reds and woods fleshed out the ceiling sky murals, giving the space an airy yet intimate feel; and the twinkling candle light reflected by lots of mirrors gave a sense that this place is somewhere special.

Service

Great.

Overall Impressions

We did not have huge expectations. First, this restaurant is French – and for every halfway decent French restaurant, there are about 99999 others serving terrible bland food. We’d mostly experienced the latter.

Second, it’s the prix fixe menu – sometimes those are great, sometimes they’re packed with pre-warmed food and so many cost cutting measures that they’re no better than something from a TGIMcFridayBees. We were hoping for the former , but expecting the latter.

I am thrilled to say we were 100% wrong on both accounts. The food was stellar, the service was great, and the atmosphere was really something special. Not only was this meal great value for money, but it gave us enough time to get to our show, and bolstered our stomachs for the frozen chaos that is anywhere within a 12-block radius of Rockefeller Center in the weeks before Christmas.

Rating

5 out of 5 for a fantastic meal, great service, and getting us to our show on time.

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