West 42nd between 9th and 10th Avenues has become a haven for off-Broadway theaters. These are all modern, clean venues that produce a wide variety of traditional and experimental theater experiences. Right in the middle is this restaurant, dedicated to Josephine Baker, and owned by one of her sons. It is fitting that the restaurant is associated with fine entertainment. The establishment predates the theaters by many years (it has been open 27 years as of the date of this review), so the fact that it survived what had been a rather seedy area for many years is a tribute to its staying power. We've had pre-theater diner here several times, and have enjoyed all of the visits.
The menu is mostly standard Bistro fare, but there are a few outstanding selections. My favorite is Lobster Cassoulet, a dish heavy on the shellfish (lobster, shrimp and scallops), but including a seafood sausage and black beans. Closer to a Bouillabaisse with beans, and excellent. The piano is in the center of the narrow venue; upon entering you are asked if you want a quiet spot, or one close to the piano. We chose "quiet", which was perfect, as the piano was clearly heard but not overpowering. The wine list is not overpriced and has a good selection of standard wines. Desserts are also varied and excellent, including a special on our most recent visit, a traditional baked apple with a sorbet on the side. Very autumnal.
Service was well paced, neither rushed nor negligent. We were asked our curtain time upon being seated, and the staff worked to get us out in time but without rushing us.