Martini With a Chanteuse, Anyone?

Martini With a Chanteuse, Anyone?

The main dining room of Chez Josephine

It was a shock to realize that I had not been to Chez Josephine in some 20 years, arguable the sexiest and most atmospheric restaurant in the Theater District. The timing was right last Thursday night, though, as I had tickets to “The Cherry Orchard” a block or so east on W. 42nd Street. A tribute to the legendary French dancer and jazz singer Josephine Baker (paintings of the famed chanteuse decorate the glazed brick walls of the bilevel restaurant), the restaurant does invoke that sultry, 1920s nightclub, piano lounge vibe, and, in fact, while dining on a recent Thursday night, a talented young pianist tickled the ivories with great jazz and pop ballards of the early 20th century (Billie Holiday, Nat King Cole, George Gershwin). A small bar at the front invites you to cozy up for a cocktail: Mine, which came in a petite, tradtional martini glass, was served perfectly chilled, with just the right proportions of Grey Goose and vermouth. Ornate, red-shaded chandeliers and red velvet banquettes in the back rooom add even more charm, as do the white tablecloths and subdued lighting. Service is warm and friendly and menu options include both a prix fixe and à la carte menu.

In this era of industrial-chic and minimalist decor, it is nice to come across a restaurant that is, just like you may be, dressed to the nines.

>> Chez Josephine, 414 W. 42nd St., 212.594.1925