La Côte Basque and Jean-Jacques Rachou
My wife and I would drive from Wilmington, Delaware two or three times a year during the 80s and 90s to dine at the sui generis La Cote Basque and were shocked and saddened when it closed. Every aspect of every meal was superlative and Chef Rachou was magnanimity itself. Memories from a special birthday dinner include the servers’ delighted reactions when my 10-year-old son ordered Ris de Veau and later when Chef gave him an autographed copy of a recent culinary magazine profile and photo, and then took the time to hand write and describe for me his recipe for Cassoulet Toulousain. The finest restaurant and chef one could imagine and a lifetime memory.
I was one of the waiters there for 12 years and I miss LA Cote basque and rachoue
Wow. I seldom comment on articles. But I ate here monthly for many years -- it was the highlight of the "true" French experience in NYC, even at a time when there were others who were also pretty good. Now I eat at Daniel or Le Pavillon instead; they are wonderful in their own way, but will never be La Côte Basque, sadly. It has been a long time since I ran into someone who remembered how special it all was. Bravo to you for eliciting it so beautifully.
This is such a wonderful piece. I dined there once in the late 70’s and your writing took me right back. Thank you.
This is such a wonderful article. Thank you very much for writing it. Dining at La Cote Basque was such a happy part of my life. I have often thought of Mr. Rachou. My only wish is that I could see him again to thank him for all the lovely memories I still have of the joyful dinners I spent at his restaurant with my friends and family. It was not only the terrific food and service that made La Cote Basque an extraordinary experience, it was Mr. Rachou's warmth and kindness which contributed to this being the best restaurant that I have ever dined at. If by chance Jean-Jacques ever reads this comment, my family and I still love you.
My father worked at La Cote Basque for many, many years. Lots of stories he would tell me! I remember sometimes popping in after work and saying a quick hello to Chef Rachou and my dad would introduce me to some of his customers. The place was an institution and my father was gutted when it closed. It was such a huge part of his life. Thank you for this article which took me down memory lane.
Thanks for the kind words everyone. I am jealous of anyone in Flanders who gets a home cooked meal from Jean Jacques.
What a lovely piece of writing! I was transported back to a more elegant time. Thank you.
How wonderful it is to read a well written article as well as one of a life I adored. Merci bien.
Superb! Thank you for a vivid article on the "Art of Living". We miss those days, those great ones. À la prochaine...
I read the article with great pleasure. Thank you.
Thanks Peter for contributing such a thorough and powerful profile.
What a wonderful remembrance of exceptional times dining in New York! The spirit of these establishments lives on. Thank you for the walk back to more pleasant dining experiences.
As a Canadian Chef, I felt Mr. Rachel passion for the ambiance as well as detail to each dish. I have tried to remain true to my stocks to build my soups, sauces from them. Fresh is best. But sadly with COVID, I've been force to close and sadly but true Fast food has over taken our Town. The restaurant scene will never be the same, sadly.