The Man Who Fell from the Sky: Benoit
Paris, New York, and Tokyo
The original Benoit opened in 1912, close to the Tour Saint-Jacques. Acquired by Ducasse in 2005, the restaurant remains one of the last authentic bistros in Paris and is the only bistro in the city with a Michelin star. Much of Benoit’s charm is its ambience—lamps on the bar, red-velvet banquettes, and faux-marble columns. But for guests seeking a taste of the traditional, Benoit does not disappoint; frog legs, escargots, and vol-au-vents are among the bistro’s specialties.
The New York Benoit is likewise a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. The vintage wall sconces, frosted-glass partitions, and antique furnishings set the tone for a menu that features such classics as duck foie gras, onion soup, and pâté en croûte.
The Tokyo version of Benoit is a less successful effort at conjuring up Paris; if not for the replica of the Eiffel Tower that stands in one corner, you might be more inclined to order sushi than snails.