Frequent contributor Betty Guernsey has a great eye for all things Paris in NYC! Merci mille fois, Betty, for this recommendation!
Chez Josephine has never been quite the same since the death of its flamboyant host/owner Jean-Claude Baker in 2015, but the spirit of both the legendary St. Louis-born chanteuse and her thirteenth adopted son (one of the famous “rainbow tribe”) lives on in a restaurant and piano bar in the theater district that’s reminiscent of Paris in both their heydays.
Picture lush red velvet banquettes, crystal chandeliers, white linen’d tablecloths, walls blanketed with posters and portraits upstairs and down (don’t miss the superb mural of Baker in her famous banana skirt, and original sheet music of her most popular hits in the loo).
These days open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch, it boasts a menu that’s not only elegantly French, but that’s maintained its high standards over the years while remaining on the whole reasonably priced – including Baker’s favorite, very meaty Spaghetti Bolognese, and intensely chocolate Délice Josephine.
If it sounds like fun, it is — New Yorkers place it high on their list of Theater Row favorites. 414 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.