Les Halles: Like an Old Friend
I think of Les Halles as an old friend: it’s comfortable, easy to get along with, not too complicated. Les Halles is a classic stand-by, a go-to for consistent bistro fare and strong coffee. The food isn’t exquisite but its well-prepared, traditional, and sufficiently delicious.
Les Halles looks to imitate the classic Parisian brasserie: casual fare, casual dress, and casual service. The restaurant itself evokes tradition with wrought iron lamps, soaring ceilings, white tablecloths, vintage fiches francaises on the walls, dark wood furnishings. The large menu features every single classic French dish you could think of: onion soup, escargots, fois gras, duck confit, roasted chicken, mussels, scallops, coq au vin, steak tartare, cassoulet, various sausages, and their award-winning french fries.
The house specialty is certainly the meat. Named after the famous central market in Paris, Les Halles specializes in unique cuts of meat, serving them simply char-grilled and in their own juices with seasoned fries. Everything from the hangar steak to the filet mignon to the steak tartare is fresh, well-cooked, and simply prepared. I loved that you could customize your steak tartare in terms of spicyness and additions.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch are served and all are equally good. When I say good, I don’t mean excellent. This is not creative nor elegant; it is not food that will wake up your taste buds and transport you to another foodie level. It is good solid French fare with few surprises. It is a safe neighborhood spot. The place you keep going back to because you know you’re going to get a satisfying meal.
At both the Park Avenue South location and the Financial District location, the easy and spacious environment makes Les Halles ideal for group gatherings, business lunches, and brunch with the family. There aren’t too many atmospheric touches to distract from either your company or your conversation.
Hint: try the steak frites.