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“Five stars to One - the passing of a charming tradition” 1 of 5 bubbles
Review of Le Veau D'or

Le Veau D'or
Ranked #2,569 of 13,478 Restaurants in New York City
Price range: $41 - $80
Cuisines: French
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff
Neighborhood: Upper East Side
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
15 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Five stars to One - the passing of a charming tradition”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 10, 2013

I am afraid that charm is not inevitably passed on genetically.

The Veau D'or under its founder Robert Treboux was a unique NY restaurant. I would visit occasionally over the last 40 plus years. The last few times Mr. Treboux was there at lunch, dining alone, fussed over by the staff and we had long conversations about the early days of French restaurants in NY including Le Pavillon where he had worked as a waiter.

I have spent wonderful times in France. I have dined in restaurants all over the world. For one five year period I was Chairman of Aston Martin in the UK.

I went back to the Veau D'or for lunch today with two friends. One of my friends had called in the morning to make sure that they served rognons at lunch which along with the celeriac was to be lunch for all of us.They confirmed that rognons would be available.

While searching for more information I was saddened to find Mr. Treboux's obituary in the NY Times. He died last summer at the fine age of 87. He was a charming gentlemen.

I had trouble imagining the restaurant without him but proceeded with optimism

What followed was one of the most startling, unpleasant and inexplicable experiences that I have had in a restaurant anywhere. We arrived at the door at 1:08pm. We were confronted in the doorway by a grim unsmiling woman who demanded why we were there. We claimed a reservation for 1pm. She said the reservation was for 12:45. It wasn't. She then stated that we were more than ten minutes late and they could not hold tables. The third member of our party arrived at 1:13, we had been left to sit at an unset table in the front There were at least 14 places at 4 tables that were all set up. We were told that kitchen closed at 1:15.

We were escorted out the door by the hostess, the only person we were able to talk to. I asked her name. She replied Kathleen, I asked for her last name she said "you can read about it."

I read about it and realized that she was Kathleen the daughter of Robert Treboux. What we had done to deserve the treatment we received I have no idea. I can not remember a similar experience. We walked three blocks to Felidia, were greated with warmth, and had the usual spectacular meal, alas no kidneys.

I will not look for them again at the Veau D'or.

  • Visited January 2013
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
6 Thank psprague
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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69 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    38
    17
    11
    0
    3
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Honolulu, Hawaii
Level Contributor
109 reviews
97 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“A Classic Restaurant...Don't Miss it!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 31, 2012

Overall I had a great experience at this restaurant....especially when considering the location and what was received for the price! Two nicely prepared three course meals (incl dessert) with a reasonable bottle of wine for $120 with tip in midtown Manhattan, all with good, traditional French service. I found the hostess (the owner now that her father has just passed) to be pleasant and helpful both before and after the meal. If you've got your snob on then this would not be the place for you, but the there are plenty of dining rooms offering $400-$600 meals in Manhattan to serve you....come here to enjoy a good French meal at a very reasonable price....

  • Visited December 2012
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank LOVEnLIVETOEAT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
1,070 reviews
451 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 281 helpful votes
“A throwback to another age ... service a bit elitist”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 31, 2012

We went all the way uptown when visiting NYC on the side of a business trip in February and the food was top-end ... however the service was a bit condescending at first as they did not want to seat us ... but a New Yorker was with us and aggressively pushed for a seat and that was that ...

The baby chicken was excellent and, at least for NYC, the price was not astronomical.

  • Visited February 2012
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank METRUN360
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, MA
Level Contributor
226 reviews
108 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 352 helpful votes
“Interesting place ... overrated but a must try once”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 19, 2012

Let's be honest. There are two reasons you go here ... either you saw it on Anthony Bourdain's Dissapearing New York episode ... or you are a regular. Call up to make a reservation and you will instantly know its a REAL French restaurant. How? Because the hostess makes you feel as though she is doing you a favor by booking you a reservation. She is rude and hurried and makes you think, 'Did that just really happen?' after you get off the phone. (the same hostess is actually very nice when you see her in the restaurant though)

However, this place totally has the 'French attitude'. I saw them brusquely turn away two different sets of walk in couples at 8:15 p.m. in a somewhat empty restaurant, saying it was too late for them to get dinner. Most other restaurants these days want business. Beyond the attitude though ... this is an authentic experience for someone who wants to feel like they are in Paris and can do without a fine dining atmosphere.

The decor is original 1960s ... dated, paneling on the walls, mirrors, red pleather booths. I will agree with the person who said it almost seems that you could be eating in someone's finished basement. However, that is part of the charm of this place. Its ORIGINAL ... its comfortable. Shabby but clean.

Beyond the decor ... Bourdain was a little exaggatory on the menu. Its pretty typical of most French places (authentic ones) I've been in. I didn't see any incredibly dated relics of Escoffier's days beyond maybe a dessert or two you won't find in a fancy fine dining French place. I expected the menu to be a lot more 'dated' and the presentations to be a lot more of the 1950s variety than they actually were. But I guess, ratings are ratings ...

The food isn't amazingly memorable (unless you've never had French cooking before). I'd say it is average or slightly above average for France ... above average on an American scale. The sauces are true and tasty ... things seem pretty much made from scratch vs. canned. Simple but flavorful and done right. The presentations are not fancy ... they are typical. The portions are on the small side.

You order off a menu that for one price gives you an appetizer, entree and dessert. It is like a prix fixe all the time. Most dishes are in the mid- $30 - $50, which isn't bad for a full meal. Some appetizers (such as the escargot and musscles) have a $10 surcharge. I got the escargot. Blah. They were small snails, no shell ... and served on a plate with little cups filled with butter and breadcrumbs. Next time, I'll try the muscles. The sausage is actually thin cold cut style slices of tasty cold sausage with hot mustard.

I had frog legs, which were a little bland. You got 3 frogs' worth (6 legs) of the smaller frog variety. Not exactly meaty ... I'd say around the same size as a standard American chicken wing'. Each dish usually comes with a few carrott slices and a small boiled potato piece. They offer chicken sliced tableside and Beef Bourg and Couq a Vin that come in a salty but tasty wine reduction/gravy. I was dissapointed with the crumbly table bread ... I would have preferred the crusty baguette.

The desserts are very flavorful but fairly small. The 'little island' was a piece of merrangue floating in a creamy carmel sauce. The chocolate mousse was bittersweet and decadent, piped onto a plate with whipped cream vs. served in a cup. The peach melba was mixed with berries and came with ice cream. My suggestion would be to order a few extra if you are a couple.

The waitor was the perfect example of a European style waitor. He glided between tables effortlessly ... always managed to be there when you needed him ... didn't intrude on the conversation ... was good at offering suggestions and acted very professional. When our meal was done, he did not come over and try to rush the check on us. He waited until I called him over to get the check, which is very European. The hostess is brusque but once you talk to her a little, she warms up and is nice. Not very accomodating but a pleasant person to speak with and you will be seated exactly when you are supposed to be.

One dissapointment is that the original owner passed away. He never would have allowed diners to show up in ripped jeans and long sleeve t-shirts. While I was there, two couples were on dates. Both were in their mid-20s. Both guys wore distressed jeans and sweaters or long sleeve t-shirts with no collared shirt or tie. It used to be at this restaurant that they would turn you away if you did not have a jacket and tie. Even Bourdain wore a suit and tie when he ate here. I enjoy seeing the older French gentlemen at the bar in their suits sipping coffee but hate the fact that I am always sitting next to people who hear about the restaurant from TV or an article and come in wearing clothing that looks like they were just hanging around their house in.

My advice would be to try this place soon because it won't be around forever.

  • Visited December 2012
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
3 Thank LovinHotelLife
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
1,392 reviews
624 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 850 helpful votes
“THE MAGIC IS GONE”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 30, 2012

We hadn’t visited it for some time. I just could not bring myself to go there after finding out that the owner passed away this last August. Two weeks ago I found myself in the area and decided to go, I had too many memories of happy meals there to just pass by. It was shortly before 2 pm and Madame refused to sit us, claiming that she closes at 1:30 for lunch. To her credit, she offered to buy us a glass of wine, but we were too hungry to make do with a glass of wine… Two weeks later we were again in the area and entered without reservation. And from there on, it was all downhill: we were shown to the worst possible table next to the kitchen (in a restaurant where, at 1PM, only 2 other tables were occupied). The Vichyssoise was good, as always, and the garlic sausage delicious. Bread came with left-over pieces, the rice of the rognons de veau (a staple of French cuisine but acquired taste for Americans) was seriously overcooked and the Coq au Vin was quite undercooked (or very old, the meat was really tough). We drank a bottle of Beaujolais with it, reasonably priced. Meanwhile, Madame was having great time at the bar, hugging hippysh-looking individuals and then sharing champagne with them. The table was cleaned “a l’Americaine”, i.e. they took away the plates, but crumbs and other nonsense were left on the table, to help us enjoy deserts, perhaps? To be truthful, the Cointreau we ordered with desert was very generous. I don’t think we’ll be going back soon, the magic is gone, it’s now just another overpriced Manhattan restaurant. Only the VEAU painting on the wall is still there and good looking.

  • Visited November 2012
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Oliver S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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