New York City, and Manhattan in particular is and has been the place for opulence, sophistication and class since the Indians sold it to the white man. I have been to London, Paris and Rome, three very sophisticated cities, but they all are just part of the greatest city on Earth, NYC.
In the heart of the city, the theatre district, sits a little place, very French and very sophisticate called: Le Rivage, 340 West 46th St. New York, NY. It is a dining experience that one reads about, and is almost a secret. It sits in the middle of a street, with nothing fancy to lure you into its space. A simple blue and white awning hangs over an entranceway that cautions you to step down, and as you do, it is cosmopolitan Paris once again.
The restaurant is a narrow long layout that fits the bottom floor of an old apartment building, probably built at the turn of the last century. Cramped would be a good word to describe this very friendly place. The owner greeted us and we were promptly seated ahead of our scheduled reservation.
I have been to Le Rivage before, after other theatre dates, and each time has been a similar experience, the food was delicious, with saffron laced lobster bisque that was light, and a little different.
But the fun thing is of course observing people, and that is what I do best for my own amusement. Next to us was a very nice couple maybe our age. She was very talkative and he was very listeningative (Made that up) to what she said.
“Dear, maybe you should try the prosciutto with melon for an appetizer?”
And then again:
“Dear, do you think they can make your drink the way you want it, maybe you should order something else?”
The gentleman was intent on his prosciutto and his drink, a ‘side car’. He orders it and the young bartender, a woman goes behind the bar and immediately looks it up, and makes the drink and returns with the ‘side car’, places it in front of the man, who sips it. The waitress says: “I hope you like it Monsieur, I don’t know though!”
The gentleman makes his determination that it is “close” and merrily orders wine.
All through dinner I had an urge to lean over to him as we sat at adjoining tables and tell him to lose his long tie and get a bow tie. I wanted to say: You are a bow tie man; He just looked like he should wear one.
Our dinners were great, I didn’t order the escargot, I can’t eat a lot any more, but maybe next time I will forgo the soup and eat the escargot instead.
Then there was this couple sitting across from me. She too was doing most of the talking, and he, without a tie was doing all the listening. As she spoke in Gatling gun fashion, he tended to allow his eyes to wander around the room like he was half listening, but would throw out a responsive word every so often. All of a sudden, two lovely young ladies are seated next to his table, and suddenly he was focused, but not on his dinner partner!
The night was bitter cold, no question about that, but I love to get the sights and sounds of the big city as part of my experience in being there. At night, after sunset, it seems to come alive in another type of vitality; people are off somewhere to do other things, to end their day, but because it was so windy I would miss that. We decided since it was so cold, we would head back to the Waldorf and have a drink in the lounge. The wind made walking impossible and so I hailed a cab.
After a stop at our room we went down to Sir Harry’s Lounge on the main floor of the Waldorf. Sir Harry must be a very rich man by now, because the place was loaded with cheering football fans watching the Giants play the Green Bay Packers and the mixed drinks start at $21 a pop!
The place itself had these big double cherry wood doors with etched glass that read: Sir Harry’s Bar and Lounge. Inside, lining both sides of the long room were small sofas and tables with chairs, all owning little lamps and checkered top wooden tables, inlaid of course.
I think everyone should in their life time try to enjoy the finer things in life, make it special and damn the price, because I want to be laid to rest knowing I tried.