Posted May 24, 2024

We’re in a mood of exploring some of the food places down near the Financial District. I was looking around, and there weren’t too many options. Le Gratin happened to be from renown chef, Daniel Boulud, so I figure this would be a safe choice. This is located right next to the Beekman Hotel, and there are entrances via the street or through the hotel. We easily made reservations for 2 for 5:45 PM on a Friday without much advance notice.

Here is a snippet from the website:

Located in the heart of the Financial District just steps away from City Hall, World Trade Center, Tribeca and the revitalized Seaport, Chef Daniel Boulud welcomes you to Le Gratin. From the moment Chef Daniel Boulud could hold a spoon, he remembers savoring his mother’s potato dish – Le Gratin Dauphinois, a favorite he remains to make on all celebratory occasions. The symbolic and casual restaurant connects Chef Daniel with the traditional bistros and bouchons of his hometown of Lyon, France, known for their welcoming ambiance and soulful cuisine.

Ambiance & Service

The restaurant ambiance has a very bistro like feel. It reminded me a bit of Pastis with the warm, yellow lighting and the decor. The restaurant never really got busy, so the crowd noise was very tolerable.

Our service was superb, and the food came out well paced.


The Le French Martini ($19 - left) came with coconut fat washed vodka, pineapple juice, and Crème de Framboise. The martini was very smooth and delicious.

The Cornu Camus Savigny les Beaune ($20 - right) came from Burgundy, 2022. This red wine was a medium body Pinot Noir that was dry with fruit forward flavors. It paired well with all my dishes tonight, and it was easy to drink. The waiter gave me a sip of the Château D’Arsac, Margaux 2018 (i.e. a Bordeaux wine), but that was a little too heavy for me for the food tonight.

The bread with butter was delicious. The bread had a crispy outside and very warm, soft inside.

The Croquette de Cabillaud ($23) was a special appetizer for the night and came with fried densely packed cod in the middle. This is very similar to Brazilian fish coxinhas, where it has fish meat in the middle. The breading around the cod was actually vry light, and the cod itself was quite flavorful. The salad and sauce it was garnished with were also a delight.

The Magret de Canard Au Poivre Vert ($48) came with a roasted Mallard duck breast, glazed vegetables, and green peppercorn sauce. The duck breast was cooked beautifully, and it was surprisingly large. The green peppercorn sauce was peppery and not excessively so.

The Duo de Veau aux Morilles ($68) was the May special and came with a veal duo of tenderloin and sweetbreads, peas “a la française”, and morel sauce. Surprisingly, I was able to eat the morels no problem. I’m wondering if I am only disliking certain mushrooms and not all mushrooms. Google says morels are more like truffles, which I absolutely love eating. The morel sauce was quite decadent and not in an overly aromatic way that truffle brings. The veal tenderloin was cooked nicely and tasted delicious as well as the sweetbreads (i.e. pancreas). The entree looks small, but the food was decently rich and can be enjoyed well by meticulous eaters.

The Gratin Dauphinois Comme Marie ($18) came with DB’s Mom’s creamy and cheesy potato gratin. This dish came out piping hot, but it was pretty good. The gratin was thinly slice, and the creamy and cheesy sauce was not superfluously rich as other gratins.

The Profiterole Chocolate Noisette ($16) came with Gianduja ice cream, chocolate hazelnut chantilly, and chocolate feuilletine. This all tasted pretty good, and it had balanced sweetness to it.

Final Verdict

Le Gratin is a pretty good French bistro-type restaurant in the Financial District. If you’re near the area and desiring for French, it may be an option to check out. The price is slightly on the higher side, but the food was and service were commendable.

Yelp Jabs

My one gripe is just a personal preference, really: I don’t really like heavy lunches, and Lyonnaise food seems to be really heavy on the proteins and fats: even their salad had juicy bacon bits and generous cuts of chicken liver!

I don’t think it’s specifically Lyonnaise food, but perhaps French food in general. Unless you get a jamon sandwich, French food is going to be make you feel heavy with cheese and/or butter.

(chicken liver mousse pate), it didn’t quite align with my taste preferences… The endives salad turned out to be a challenge for my palate, as the bitter greens might not suit everyone’s taste… A 3-star rating reflects my mixed experience, acknowledging the restaurant’s strengths while considering personal taste preferences.

This Elitist visited this establishment during winter restaurant week and didn’t enjoy many of their dishes. It turns out that they were surprised by the natural flavors of endive and was trying out pate maybe for their first time. I have to give a small compliment to the Elitist that he admits a lower rating due to personal preferences, but maybe they could have held back their rating considering their lack of dimensional palette.


  1. May 24, 2024 - Initial revision.