19 April 2007

La Cote Basque, Au Revoir?

Eater reports that things don't look so good for Brasserie La Côte Basque, the restaurant descendant of the legendary La Cote Basque of Henri Soule and Truman Capote fame. The place was closed by a snitty Department of Health capo last March and hasn't opened since. It's still closed for "minor renovations," according to a sign, and the place's website has vanished.

Sad if owner Jean-Jacques Rachou has taken the DOH closing as a reason to throw in the towel. The eatery is as redolent with New York restaurant history as any in New York. It was founded by the legendary restauranteur Soule in 1958 as the man's second base, the first being Le Pavillon, the French restaurant that birthed an era of haute French cuisine in New York. It used to be located across the street from the St. Regis, off Fifth. It moved to its current location about a decade ago, keeping its famous murals in the move. Rachou closed La Cote Basque in 2004 and reopened the shop as a more casual bistro. Nonetheless, you can still see the old new "La Cote Basque" sign on the side of the building. Rachou would switch it on every night, even after the real La Cote Basque was history, for whatever reason.

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