New York, NY 10012
From the Soho grandees who drop in at breakfast for a croissant, to the star-struck tourists who check in at lunch, to the cream of New York who continue to cram its dining room, Balthazar's customers know, year in and year out, what they are getting. The crown jewel of Keith McNally's Francophile empire remains as hot and as sharp today as the day it opened. The room, all mirrors and red banquettes, is always jammed but somehow never falls too far behind in service; the food, a lineup of orthodox bistro standards ranging from skate in brown butter to roast chicken for two to nightly specials like pot au feu and bouillabaisse are inevitably executed to perfection. The once and future downtown restaurant is still in its glory.