I had been hankering for raclette ever since missing my chance to try it in France, so last Thursday I went to eat it in New York. Philippe found me a quirky little place that serves fondue and raclette – but only on winter nights they deem sufficiently cold – out of a dimly lit, speakeasy-like back room. Getting to it felt almost like going through the wardrobe into Narnia.
We walked to the end of the bustling front restaurant…
…then through a heavy metal door into a hushed kitchen…
then down the long kitchen hallway, until we reached another heavy metal door, through which we emerged into a tiny back room decorated like a retro Swiss ski lodge. I tried to take photos but it was way too dark and way too cramped and this is the best I could do.
There were only two tables in the place: one extra long picnic table at which a Swiss boarding school was having a reunion, and one tiny table that sat three people – us. The presence of Americans schooled in the Alps added to a very fun feeling of pseudo-authenticity.
I was disappointed that the raclette was served already-assembled instead of in pieces for us to make at the table, and I was sad that it was quite nippy inside instead of warm and toasty as I had imagined a place called the Après Ski Chalet would be. But other than that it was a delightful evening of extremely delicious food with great friends who unfortunately I can not show you because their faces are pitch-dark in all of my pictures.
Highly recommended if you’re in New York – just bring a sweater or two!