BY R. CHARLES 1.1('1181 SN D g at the Pavillon by Joseph Wechsherg tWeidenfeld and Nicolson 30s.), AUSTRIAN horn lawyer, musician and journalist. whose polished essays about composers and great chefs frequently delight readers of The New Yorker, M r. Joseph Wechsherg has added yet another book on gastronomy to his successful series that started so well with Red Plush and Black Velvet (The Story of Nellie Melba and her "peaches") and Blue Trout and Black Truffles (peregrinations of an epicure).
Wechsbcrg starts out trying to prove that there is at least one genuine French restaurant in America, the famous Pavillon in New York's Manhattan (I I 1. East 57th Street, corner of Park
Its proprietor. French horn. but American naturalised Henri Soule may be today recognized by his former compatriots as the -A m ssa do r" of the classic French cuisine. he Tay Ily jet-plane loads of fresh Dover Sole, Loire Salmon. French truffles from Perigord etc. daily into Idlewild and employ a great French chef. Clement Grangier: he may •boast that he learned his trade at the Continental in Biarritz, the Miritheati, the Card de Paris and Ciros in Paris as well as at the Frocadero in Shaftesbury Avenue and that his cellar is the largest and best stocked in the Wester[ Hemisphere containing more fine vintage clarets and burgundies than even any in London or Paris.
The greatest French chef of this century. Fernand Point, whose celebrated restaurant "La Pyramide" in Vienne. lsere in the South of France was the first of only eight ever to get three stars in the Guide Michelin. once said with a naughty twinkle in his eye: "How French can any French restaurant he in America?"
You may have the steepest prices dinner for two at the Pavillon starting with Beluga Caviar and continuing with a Chateatibriand steak accompanied by a good claret will not leave you much change out of a 100 dollar bill (430)you may import the genuine ingredients and the great French chef. but what does it all avail since you cannot also import the clientele that appreciates it? Wcchsberg himself has to admit -very reluctantly mind you that poor old Henri Smile despairs when he has to watch Wall Street tycoons first prop up his bar for an hour, consuming up to ten highballs or other cocktails before they will even deign to look at his Menu and then refusing a good claret or burgundy only 10 per cent of the customers will touch wine at all-and insisting on washing down a wonderful Dover Sole or a Coq au Vin with Scotch and ginger ale or a gin and tonic! How frightfully French!
Still. there are also delightful touches. A French lady once hooked her table nine months in advance. "Why not?" mused Henri Soule entering her name in his hook. "after all good Catholics make reservations all their life long for a good place in Paradise..."