Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Lights are Back on Broadway!

Join the revelry at Chez Josephine

Dear Postcards from New York Reader,

After nearly three weeks, the stagehand's strike that threatened to ruin the Christmas season for tourists, restaurants and theatres, finally ended last week. Broadway is back!

Now for the after Theatre dining recommendations I promised in the Claire Danes Pygmalion story (see Postcard, October 28). By the way, if you still haven't seen this wonderful production, the performance runs through Sunday December 16th.

Walk west on 42nd Street toward the Hudson River, a mere block and a half from the flashing marquees of Broadway and tourist-trap restaurants, you’ll discover Chez Josephine nudged between two Off-Broadway theatres on the south side of the street (blink and you’ll miss it).

A long time favorite of theatregoers and actors, live music and a spirit of gay frivolity greet you, the moment you open the door. Here, Jean Claude and Jarry Baker keep alive the cherished memory of their famous mother, Josephine Baker.

Portraits large and small of the exotic dancer, singer and performer in alluring provocative poses, line the red brick walls in every medium, to create a cozy, comfortable, clubby atmosphere. Reminiscent of a 1920's-30's Paris bistro, you breathe in the joie de vivre, and even though no one else is, you immediately feel like dancing.

Notice the frenzied Tahitian dancer in the Gauguin style painting that commands the east wall. Now imagine the stir Josephine’s seductive abandon caused in the Paris of her day, where Ernest Hemingway, Picasso, Cocteau and Luigi Pirandello hopelessly pursued her.

Rose-shaded chandeliers, long crisp linen tablecloth over tiny tables and deep red trellis curtains at the windows make this an ideal place for an intimate romantic dinner.

My niece and I enjoyed a tete-a-tete, while sampling one another's appetizer with a superb Merlot. I had the Belgian endive salad garnished with Roquefort and roasted walnuts, she the escargot. Our main course, mine, calf liver in mustard sauce, spicy greens and potato croquettes, hers, sea bass, left just enough room for an absolutely amazing light crème brulee. We slowly savored every spoonful.

Jaime is a big jazz fan, so we hung out for hours over after dinner apéritifs, listening to an all-female jazz band. It was so cozy, we closed the place.

During the Holidays this place is booked, so make reservations now if you plan to go to the theatre in the next few weeks. Best of all, Chez Josephine has one of the few late night kitchens in the Theatre District, open until 1AM.

Bon Appetit!

Jacqueline Cable
For Postcards from New York

P.S. Haven't decided what to do New Year's Eve? Chez Josephine is just the place to welcome in the New Year. Book reservations now, don't wait.

P.P.S. Two choices you will read about in upcoming issues: Remi features unbelievable Venetian Italian to rival any found in Italy and Firebird for wonderful Russian in a setting of pure fantasy and romance right out of a Tolstoy novel.

Address to Remember: 414 West 42nd Street, New York, NY 10036, 212-594-1925.

Directions: From Times Square, a 2 1/2 block walk west on 42nd Street.

Photo by Jaime Wilson

©Copyright 2007 The Cable Group