Revisiting Latour in Ridgewood

In 2016, 18 years after our first meal at Latour, we had mixed feelings about our recent dinner.

In December of 1998, when I first wrote about Latour in Ridgewood, restaurants did not have web pages, many people had not heard of e-mail and the Internet as we know it was in its infancy. Needless to say, any restaurant that has been open since 1998 must have many loyal, happy followers. However, in 2016, 18 years later, we had mixed feelings about our recent dinner at Latour.

In 1998 I wrote: “We appreciated that specials were recited with the prices (thank you), before we looked at the menu, as it made it easier to decide what to order.” In 2016, eight specials were recited without the prices after we were given the menus.

The filling tasted starchy in the crusty casing lump crabmeat strudel, which looked like a fried eggroll or blintz. A special of butternut squash Parisian gnocchi was accompanied with spinach, duck-leg confit, brandied cherries and finished with a duck gastrique. The sauce was too sweet. The gnocchi without the sauce were ethereal. Entrees came on hot plates with room temperature food. A half roast duck was dry but the skin was crispy. It was plated with spinach spatzel and red cabbage and surrounded with an apricot gastrique.

A generous potion of grouper was smothered in shredded zucchini, carrots and red pepper in a champagne sauce. Saffron orzo was also on the plate. There were too many ingredients competing with each other creating a hodgepodge of flavors. A hazelnut pear crumb tart containing chunks of pear and hazelnuts was topped with vanilla ice cream; a visually delightful and delicious dish. In 1998, the buttery rich pear strudel was our favorite dessert.

In 1998, Latour was charming with white walls, lovely oils by a local artist, plants and wicker chairs. Today, you are still transported to a charming French café but the walls are now blue and there are flowered curtains and drapes, flower-filled window boxes as well as pictures of the French countryside on the walls. White tablecloths and napkins and flowers are on the tables. The tin ceiling and wood floors remain. However, the fake candles were tacky and we were disappointed in the small wine glasses that looked like they came from the dollar store.

Except on Friday and Saturday, a four-course, prix fixe menu is offered with one choice per course for $42.95 plus gratuity and tax. The restaurant is open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday; lunch Tuesday through Friday.

6 E Ridgewood Avenue

Crabmeat strudel.

Hazelnut pear crumb tart.
Photos courtesy of Lowell Saferstein

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