R.I.P. Robert Treboux & Le Veau D’Or

August 25th, 2012 § 2 comments § permalink

This week The New York Times reported the passing (at 87) of Robert Treboux, the proprietor of the frozen-in-time French bistro, Le Veau D’Or located in New York’s Upper East Side. Sad news. Treboux was a gracious man who kept alive old fashioned, French bistro cooking. Nothing ever changed at Le Veau D’Or. Not the decor. Not the menu. Not the gracious service. Only the clientele, which got older every year but remained faithful to this temple of quenelles, tripe, brains in black butter and long simmered butter and wine sauces. When HG had offices on Madison Avenue and 60th Street HG lunched there frequently. HG was served a giveaway of mussels in mustard sauce. Then there was an ample plate of sausage in crust with warm potato salad. Crocks of Dijon mustard (the real, tongue tingling stuff before pallid Grey Poupon arrived on the scene) and cornichons. Then a serving of brains in black butter with crusty bread and parsley-flecked boiled potatoes. A wedge of ripe Camembert helped HG finish his luncheon bottle of Beaujolais. In cold weather, HG often dipped into a huge cassoulet or a Provencal pot roast redolent of garlic, tomatoes and fresh herbs

Two years ago, HG lunched at the restaurant with SJ in tow. Treboux was there to give a pleasant welcome. At the end of the meal, HG encountered Elaine Kaufman of Elaine’s Restaurant and settled down to an afternoon of cognac and gossip. Elaine died a few months later. And, now Treboux. Thus, does HG’s New York fade into oblivion.

Mussels: Look For That PEI Identity.

May 3rd, 2011 § 1 comment § permalink

Mussels are a splendid food. Relatively inexpensive. Tasty. Healthy. But, heed HG: Only Prince Edward Island Mussels are worth eating. Like the Island itself, PEI mussels are a gentle taste underscored by a firm body. They are invariably sand and grit free and their mellow flavor marries perfectly with myriad sauces and preparations. Maine mussels seem to lack substance. New Zealand mussels are over sized and tasteless.

Here’s how HG prepares mussels: Soften onions and garlic in a spacious saute pan. When soft, add the mussels. Add a bottle of clam juice (or some fish stock if you have it) and some white wine. Mix with salt and red pepper flakes plus chopped Italian parsley. Cover. Turn up heat to moderate high and cook until the mussels are open. Top with some more parsley. You can serve these as a starter with some crusty bread to sop up the sauce; for something more substantial, cook some linguine and add the pasta to the steamed mussels.

Always cook more mussels than you can eat. Take the left overs out of their shells and refrigerate. Next day mix them with some mustard mayonnaise. You’ve got a great lunch or dinner appetizer.

The frozen in time New York bistro, Le Veau D’or, always served a big freebie of mussels in mustard mayonnaise. In days of yore, HG would consume them with an icy martini. That would be followed by Beaujolais and steak frites. Nice workday lunch. If HG attempted it today, HG would be off to slumberland before putting down knife and fork.

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