Last night was freakin' cold. Frigid.
The only thing that was going to pry me away from my apartment was the prospect of dinner with a good friend, a glass or two of red wine, and great food. My archeaologically-inclined gal pal Kristin was in need of celebration, so I had two of the three. Once I had secured an 8:30 reservation at Les Halles' original brasserie location on Park Ave. South, the other two seemed to be in place as well.
Not so fast.
Walking through the doors a wee bit early, I couldn't help but notice that the place was bit a crowded. Strike that. VERY crowded. It made the subway at rush hour look veritably roomy.
The perky hostess noted that I'd arrived and asked me to alert her once Kristin joined. At 8:30 sharp I had finally made my way through the five-deep bar to snag a glass of wine when Kristin sashayed in. We immediately informed the hostess.
"It'll just be 5 - 10 minutes," she reported.
It was a lie.
Forty minutes later the joint didn't look any less packed and we seemed no closer to getting a table. Finally the hostess looked our way. Our table was ready. But, alas, it was a corner table, slammed right next to the bar and surrounded by a throng of thirsty and hungry patrons.
Kristin lost it, informing the hostess that the table was an insult - especially after waiting this long past our reservation.
Expecting the worst, we were surprisingly greeted by the best.
The hostess agreed with our take on the table, promised us the next one in the dining room proper and offered us two flutes of champagne for our trouble.
Hmmm...Maybe the evening would turn out well after all.
And so it did.
Our French brasserie dinner was delightful - from the bottle of Rasteau Cuvee Prestige Domaine la Soumade to the Frisee aux Lardons and the Steak Tartar with Frites to the Profiterole topped with Dark Chocolate Sauce.
The waiter was pretty tasty too. (I was particularly charmed when he deftly poured the hot Chocolate Sauce into a heart-shape on our dessert plate.)
We wrapped up the meal with glasses of Sauternes and Armangac, and a strong desire to keep the evening going.
One more stop was required.
A cab was hailed, hugs exchanged and the promise of a Steak Tartar-themed dinner party made.
And, somehow the evening air didn't feel quite as chilly as earlier that night.
Friends, spirits and food. Quite warming as a threesome. (Not that I'm giving up my coat, scarf and gloves, mind you!)