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New York's Broadway is the center of the world for theater. Within just a couple blocks you can see small, independent plays or multi-million dollar spectacles starring award-winning actors. Before or after a show Times Square and the surrounding area is the home to hundreds of restaurants. You can find huge chain restaurants, small pubs and even New York landmarks like Chez Josephine.
We visited Chez Josephine on 42nd Street recently and we are definitely making it a regular stop whenever we go see a show on Broadway.
Chez Josephine is named for legendary stage and screen star Josephine Baker. In fact the restaurant - which has been serving New York theater goers since opening in 1986 - is owned by her son, Jean-Claude. The venue is a tribute to the bubbly joie-de-vivre of 1930's Paris where Josephine Baker rose to fame. The decor reflects the carefree and freewheeling jazz era with an eclectic mix of blues and reds that would make even the "Creole Goddess" smile with wonder and delight.
But this is a restaurant and not a museum, so how's the food? Delicious!
We ordered off the $38 prix fixe menu. The carrot ginger soup was refreshing with a nice blend of seasoning and a light touch of butter. The tartar was well prepared and had a clean taste, not at all gamy thanks to the delicate balance of herbs.
In addition to being a pioneer in film (she was the first black woman to appear in a film), a Free France agent during World War II, and an active crusader of the Civil Rights movement, Josephine Baker was a renowned exotic dancer who often appeared nude in her Parisian shows. Her sensuality was a big part of her legacy and carries over into the restaurant making it not the most ideal place for children; however, our daughter felt most welcome. The staff were incredibly friendly and attentive, and she loved Elvira's fried chicken with sweet potato fries and blueberry cornbread. The fried chicken was the juiciest I've ever sampled and the sweet potato fries had a nice touch of salt to balance out the flavor.
Chez Josephine opens Tuesday through Saturday from 5pm until 1am, and on Sundays for brunch and dinner from noon until 10pm. It is located in the heart of the theater district at 414 West 42nd Street.