Following up on Ask Gothamist's advice on Christmas menus at city restaurants, Gothamist wants to share some of the delights of the Les Halles Christmas Dinner. Perhaps based on our serious obsession with Les Halles executive chef Anthony Bourdain, we were invited to try some of the Christmas menu, which has a delicious rosted goose (Oie aux Deux Façon, Côtes de Bettes à la Landaise) as a main course. However, we must admit, the suprise appearance of Bourdain sent us into a frenzy of questions and borderline coherent babbling. [Photo below of Bourdain surrounded by Les Halles chef and a server]
First, there were Crispy Oysters topped with truffle and caviar (Gavettes à la Façon du Bassin d’Arcachon). It's a very rich appetizer, so if you're looking for something a little lighter, they also have a porcini mushroom salad with mache (this year's breakout leafy green), ham, walnuts and fine herbs, which is still very hearty and delicious.
Gothamist has read our fair share of British books, from Agatha Christie mysteries to Enid Blyton children's stories, and we've been curious about the Christmas goose. Granted, Les Halles is a French establishment, but Christmas goose didn't seem to make it over to the New World, so this was our first time trying goose not in a foie gras or pate form. And it reminded us of duck, rich and succulent, complemented with a rich sauce and Swiss chard.
And as we surrender to our sweet tooth, the piece de resistance was the Buche de Noel, aka The Christmas Log. (A side note from our experience: While Buche de Noel seems like it'd be easy to make, with a thin layer of cake with chocolate mousse, the outside decorating is complex. Trust us, you need a permit from the forestry service.)
The Christmas menu at Les Halles is available at both downtown and Park Avenue locations through Sunday, December 26:
- Brasserie Les Halles at 411 Park Ave. (btw 28 – 29 Sts.), 212-679-4111 (the Park Avenue location also sells cuts of meat within its market located within the restaurant)
- Brasserie Les Halles Downtown at 15 John St. (btw. Bway & Nassau), 212-285-8585
Here's an eGullet discussion about the Christmas menu, and Bourdain recently wrote the Les Halles Cookbook. And here's a photo of Bourdain with sous-chef Carlos, whom he calls the best French chef in the city.
Joyeux Noel and Bon Appetit to all!