Great New York Lunches: Boudin Blanc & Beer at Cafe D’Alsace

June 20, 2008 | By | COMMENTS

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On family trips to EPCOT, as a young lass*, I would insist that my parents visit the countries alone and let me and my brother spend our valuable time in Future World. The countries, I thought, were boring: who wants to shop around England and France, when you can ride up the giant globe with Walter Cronkite’s voice soothing you into a satisfied stupor?

[*: I only now discovered that lass means young girl or woman. I was never a young girl or woman as far as I know.]

Now that I live in New York, I’m all grown up and what I love about this city is what I hated about EPCOT: all the countries represented here, squeezed together, ready for your patronage. I may as well have been in a theme park on Tuesday when, after shooting a segment for Food Network at Serendipity on 60th Street and 3rd Avenue, I walked over to 2nd and up to 88th to grab lunch at Cafe D’Alsace. The day was bright, people paraded back and forth on the sidewalk, and the restaurant had an exaggerated quality that wouldn’t be out of place in Orlando. The food, however, would put any theme park to shame.

The dish that screamed out to me on the menu was the Boudin Blanc: a pork and veal sausage served on toasted French bread with sauerkraut, mustard, french fries and a small salad. All for $8. Don’t you love this city?

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How to sing its praises? Sometimes a certain dish at a certain moment hits the spot in such a perfect way, that you can’t imagine anything better. And that’s how I felt biting into this: the sausage was flavorful and juicy, the bread crispy, the mustard zingy, the sauerkraut snappy and the french fries perfectly crispy.

Cafe D’Alsace is famous for pairing beer with its food and even though this was a Tuesday at approximately 12:15 PM, I’d finished my “work” for the day and I figured, “Hey, why not, lawyers drink at lunch, I seem to recall” and I asked the waitress to pair a beer with my lunch. She brought out the following:

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A crisp German beer from the tap–Spaten Mai Bock–it matched perfectly with the food, though I’m not much of a beer connoisseur and I’m not sure I’d have noticed a huge difference if it were a cheaper beer (this beer cost more than the food: it was $10!)

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Still, though, the experience was entirely positive. Buzzed from the beer, I journeyed out of the restaurant back into the world and smiled that I live in New York and not EPCOT. EPCOT would get old after a while.

Categories: Manhattan, New York, Restaurant Reviews, Upper East Side

  • http://thefoodmonsterblog.blogspot.com The Food Monster

    Even if you had to go back to work, or do something later in the day, there are plenty of taxis, and a great public transportation system to get you there. So, I say, enjoy that beer. As it is a little harder to pull off in Los Angles.

  • Judd

    Definitely puts my lunch to shame. *sigh*

  • Rich

    OTOH, at Epcot the big German beers are $8 instead of $10 and the whole thing gets a good scrub every night. (:

  • yoshi

    Ugh Epcot. I was at DisneyWorld last year for a conference for the first time in over a decade and I spent a day and Epcot and DisneyWorld. I walked through the various country pavilions at Epcot and ate some food and eventually had dinner in the French section. And I was absolutely appalled. The food was lousy. I’ve been to Paris! I’ve been to Tokyo! I’ve been to Mexico! And I eat at awesome French, Japanese, and Mexican restaurants at home all the time. Eating at the French restaurant at Epcot was like eating at a French version of TGI Fridays. And I felt sorry for the young staff imported in from France to serve this type of food.

    But the rides and fireworks were awesome!

  • http://cocoamademoiselle.typepad.com Becky

    i don’t even remember what epcot was like i went to disney so long ago. nevertheless, cafe d’alsace looks like a really good place to eat…i love me some sausage sandwich and fries!

  • http://www.intervaldrinks.blogspot.com Tasha

    Care to enlighten your non-US readers, what exactly is EPCOT? It sounds like some kind of super-sanitised international theme park, am I on the right lines?

  • Calichef

    @Tasha- You got it exactly right! Sanitized to the point of sterility.

  • http://winterskieskitchenaglow.blogspot.com/ Shaun

    Adam ~ You can never go wrong with sausage, especially when it comes from an area of the world famous for its pork produce. I love the opening photograph – it captures the melting pot vibe you go for in your introduction.

  • http://winterskieskitchenaglow.blogspot.com/ Shaun

    Adam ~ You can never go wrong with sausage, especially when it comes from a part of the world famous for its pork produce. I love the photograph of the location – it really captures the melting pot vibe of your introduction. Insurance underwriters also drink at lunchtime.

  • cybercita

    the masculine version of lass is lad.

  • http://thepearlonion.blogspot.com/ Kristin (The Pearl Onion)

    I’m disappointed that I never tried this place when I lived up near there. It looks so great…thanks for the tidbit, and I look forward to trying it perhaps one day before hitting the park for a brisk walk (to work off that meal!).

  • http://www.theguerrillagourmet.com Schaefer

    That does look pretty good. I wish there were an Alsatian restaurant somewhere in San Francisco…

  • LizNYC

    Really, that place is good? Great to know. I live up there and always walk by, but there are so many similar looking restaurants on the UES that they all blend together. Plus, it’s generally an older crowd in the evenings. I’ll remember about the nice lunches though, thanks!

  • http://tooshytostop.wordpress.com Laryssa

    I really like your blog…this is my first time visiting. Your lunch looks delicious. I thought it was funny how you mentioned Epcot, that you found the cultural experience of it to be boring. Well, at that age, you probably knew better than most people…the food at Epcot just isn’t that good. ;-)

    This place looks great! I have to check it out. Oh, one question – you says that Cafe Alsace is famous for pairing beer with food. Do you think that if I went to most restaurants with a heavy emphasis on beer they would pair something for me if I asked? I have never tried this, but it seems like an exciting idea, if you’re not picky.

  • Alli

    Hey, don’t knock Epcot. I don’t know how it’s held up, but for this former child, it was the beginning of a foodie’s life. We had couscous in “Morocco,” a meal that was unheard of in the early 80s in Ringwood, New Jersey. I’ll never forget it. Thanks, Mom & Dad!