From time to time we get invited to NYC social events and happenings. More often than not, the 2 Plus 2 attendee(s) has some common ground with the event itself, whether it’s something as simple as the love of food or the release of a new handbag line. This Eat-A-Sode follows none of this.
With A+K both predisposed, L+M were called upon to attend the release party for the… the Savvy Auntie book by Melanie Notkin. That’s right, just two dudes attending a party to celebrate the release of a guide to being a totally sweet aunt. Despite the fact that neither of us are female (insert joke here), we knew there would be free booze, music and a good crowd. It was time to get in touch with that feminine side.
In the end, the event went off without a hitch. It’s hard not to have a good time when everyone else around you is so happy. The 2 Plus 2 men trolled the crowd of Pranna restaurant, schmoozing and soaking it all in. Melanie was in all her ‘auntie glory’ excitedly greeting some very famous NYC socialites. There was even a Real NYC housewife (Bravo TV) in attendance.
After learning a thing or two about being a good aunt, we were famished and in some serious need of something a little more manly. Good news for us, Les Halles Park Avenue was right around the corner. Though it was packed, as usual, we were able to score a table and get down to regaining some of our manhood. After downing a totally righteous meat plate for two and a few beers, it was time to bring this man date to a close. Manhood still intact… we think.
Activity and Drinks- 2+2
Savvy Auntie Book Launch Party at Pranna
79 Madison Avenue # 2, NYC
Known as America’s premier Savvy Auntie, Melanie Notkin has written a comprehensive tell-all guide for all those PANKs® (Professional Aunt No Kids) living the child free life. The book is witty and insightful. Whether it’s being there for your sister during pregnancy or lending a hand with your girlfriend’s little rug rats, this book has you covered. Great statistics about women without children (apparently we aren’t alone), gift ideas, kid’s age/sizing information… it’s a helpful guide for aunts of all ages, married or single.
The release event was held at Pranna, a Southeast Asian restaurant known more for its singles scene and loud music than for its food. The vast bar/lounge area played backdrop for the well-attended event. Even still, the place was packed. Having not been here before, we can only imagine what it gets like during normal nights.
Luckily for us, the bartenders were pleasant and attentive. The drinks were flowing throughout the event, regardless of the onslaught of attendees. We tried the “to remain nameless” free beverage, but then immediately went for a Guinness. Bad news for us was that it tasted sour, like the tap or the keg was bad. After a little schmoozing and people watching, we grabbed a sure-fire-impossible-to-mess-up Grey Goose and Soda. Finally, and thankfully, we were pleased with our drink choice, even if they did cost $16 bucks a piece.
All in all, the book release was a great success. Underwhelming drinks aside, the only thing that really mattered is that the Savvy Auntie herself got to enjoy the moment after all the hard work and dedication.
What we drank…
- Guiness, Grey Goose and Soda (L+M)
L: Definitely a place to come for drinks. I loved the layout of the restautant. Vast and cavernous, giving it an open feeling without being outside.
M: This space is big and I like that there are different places one can hang out. The room downstairs was my favorite but we couldn’t go in due to another party that had taken the room up for the night. Maybe next time.
Les Halles411 Park Avenue South (at 29th Street) 212-679-4111 www.leshalles.net American Beef – French Style, Wine & Cocktails, Manhattan
Is it ok for two grown men to share a plate of grilled meat? If Eric Ripert and Anthony Bourdain can do it, then it has to be OK. And if you are going to do it, then why not at Anthony’s home base? We were hungry and wanted a meal guaranteed to statisfy, so we walked in, sat down and went for the Planche de Grillades for two. It, of course, was fantastic!
All of us have dined at both the Park Avenue and the downtown location a couple of times, and it never gets old. We love all things French and all things meat, so naturally this is the perfect place for it. The butcher is in-house, which means it’s as fresh as it gets. The menu is stocked with simple, classic French plates. Anthony B’s protégé, Carlos Llaguno, is now Executive Corporate Chef and prepares all the meals to perfection.
Some of the amuse-gueules (small plates, bite size) consist of Salade Verte, Escargots, Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese, Braised Octopus with Tomato and Black Olives, Brie topped with Honey and Cracked Black Pepper roasted and served on Croutons, and the house Pate. A few plates from La Grillade (certified Angus Beef Dry Aged) that we love are the Bavette Boeuf (skirt steak with blue cheese sauce), the Faux-Filet Bercy (flatiron steak) and of course the Planche de Grillades (lamb chop, hanger steak, merguez, steak, thick cut bacon, french fries, provençal dressing), which can be ordered for one or two. If you find yourself overwhelmed with the menu, you can always go with the true classic: Steak Frites (it’s simple and tasty).
But wait! Before you order this great meal and opt to get extra fries (because they are that good), leave some room for the Bananes Flambee (prepared table side) and some French press coffee. And don’t forget to look out for Anthony Bourdain; he is known to stop in every once in a while. We are still waiting and hoping to be there for that night…
- Fisher Amber (Beer, France) (L+M)
- French Press Coffee (L+M)
- Planche de Grillades (for two) (L+M)
- Bananes Flambees (L+M)
A: L and I have dined at the downtown locale once before and found that the food was delish! In terms of ambiance, I prefer the Park Avenue decor, but both will deliver you the same quality meal. Plus, there is always a possibility of catching a glimpse of Mr. B, our favorite travel expert!
K: Some of the best steak I have had to date has come from Les Halles. I love all aspects of this place– especially their Bucherie (pick up your meat to cook at home!).
L: It’s constantly packed here. Not sure if it has to do with its famous former chef or the food. Probably a little of both. Either way, the restaurant doesn’t disappoint.
M: The one bad thing with a great place is sometimes the wait can be a long one. But don’t leave! Grab a spot at the bar, get a bottle and enjoy. The wait it worth it! I would be a liar if I didn’t say that I don’t look around scouting for a sight of Anthony B. every time we go here. All I’m looking for is some meat plate sharing and some beer drinking. That’s all, nothing more. (I’ll even dare to eat it as raw as I have watched him eat it.)
Our Rating Scales…
- Scene- Classic French Brasserie
- Food/Drinks- 4: Stellar! Wouldn’t change a thing! Cooked perfectly!
- Tip Worthy- 3: Gratuity Included.
- Coordinates- 3: City: 10 minute ride to fun!
- Restaurant Return Rate- Green Light! We will never stop coming here!
- Price Per Person- $55: Small plate, Steak Frites, drink and dessert!