Courtesy of Le Garrick
There are no passing fads in this oh-so-French spot. West-Ender Le Garrick has stood at the corner of Garrick and Floral streets for more than 30 years, yet feels like it could be in Paris. The décor features all-wooden, mismatched chairs and tables, tinkling piano music, and theatre posters. Large windows overlook the action of the busy street with a definitely non-Parisian bastion of Englishness, the Garrick Club, opposite. Downstairs is all nooks and crannies with wooden floors, scrubbed-wooden tables in alcoves, and arched cellar ceilings.
The menu is classic French. The calamari with ginger and chile — a recipe of the owner’s grandmother — is a highlight. Swimming in butter but given a kick with the spice, they’re tender and fragrant — memorable. Another must-eat starter, and another family recipe, is escargot in more garlicky butter; so good they ought to be illegal. The meaty morsels swim in delicious sauce; it’s decadent, as French as it gets. Main courses include beef bourguignon: rich, red-winey, and smoky — a heavy, old-school food. A classic special is bouillabaisse: fish soup, creamy, delicate.
For dessert, there’s a lemon tart with the kind of intense citrus that says summer on a terrace, even in deepest January, and a classically voluptuous crème brûlée, chilled custard against the brittle top — no twists. It tastes like you’ve wandered into a hotel restaurant in small-town France.
Le Garrick is a delightful surprise because it’s just so quintessentially old school; a French brasserie with a scattering of Theatreland tinsel, the ideal place for a cozy night out and the feeling of a world that never changes, plus ça change...