Paris via NYC: Chez Josephine

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.

Paris via NYC: Picabia, Picasso, Montparnasse

Mille fois merci to frequent contributor Betty Guernsey for keeping us au courant in NYC:

A holiday bonanza – three shows that bring Paris to New York in three different ways.

First, the Francis Picabia retrospective at MOMA (continuing to March 19, 2017), an in-depth look at one of the 20th century’s lesser-known avant-garde artists. Picabia (1879-1953), born in Paris of a French mother and Cuban father, flirted, albeit with impressive dexterity, with all the great movements of his era: Impressionism, Cubism, Dadaism, Surrealism, and photo-realism, in the end leaving the viewer asking the question “Will the real Francis Picabia please stand up?”

Second, Impasse Ronsin, at the Paul Kasmin Gallery, 515 West 27th Street in Chelsea (to January 14), focuses on the work of artists living and working in the legendary Montparnasse alley from the 1930’s through the 1960’s, including Constantin Brancusi, Max Ernst, Jean Tinguely, Niki de Saint-Phalle, Isamu Noguchi, Larry Rivers, Yves Klein, and the Lalannes – a fascinating show, each piece demanding careful scrutiny.

And third, lest the festive season go by without a nod to Picasso, there is Picasso’s Picassos at Gagosian Madison Avenue, a personal selection of works from the legacy of Maya Ruiz-Picasso, daughter of the artist and Marie-Thérèse Walter, which includes many familiar and childhood portraits, and has been extended until February 18.

Paris via New York, Dominique Bistro

Screen Shot 2016-09-07 at 1.43.20 PM

Merci infiniment to frequent contributor Betty Guernsey for sending this recommendation:

Hard to believe that Dominique Bistro is a relative newcomer to the West Village, with its patina’d coppers, woods and leathers, and its great location at 14 Christopher Street, just a stone’s throw from Seventh Avenue.

It may be small, but it’s comfy and convivial: bright and airy, with 15-foot ceilings, a black-clad, very-much-in-evidence French chef, Dominick Pepe (for whom the restaurant is named), and a distinct transported-to-Montmartre feeling.

Pepe’s “French Market” menu segues from breakfast, brunch and lunch into elegant dinners – mouth-watering escargots, baked camembert, foie gras, croque champignon – anything he does with duck is simply formidable.

All this, plus background music from the chef’s collection of vintage LP’s – safe to say Juliette Greco would feel right at home here.