When I was a kid, my dad had a few go-to dishes up his sleeve when it was his turn in the kitchen. He was a little more capable and inventive than a lot of other fathers (who usually think that “dad cooks night” is equivalent to “order in pizza night”), and his arsenal included beef stew, chicken curry, fresh mashed potatoes, and the national food holiday of today, chicken cordon bleu. So today’s got a lot of good memories for me of waiting patiently for the chicken breasts to brown and then cook to perfection, and settle down with my family around the dinner table for a meal. (I think I may have rolled out the chicken breasts and only ate the ham and cheese inside, however. Oh, the life of a picky eater!)
Though “Cordon Bleu” may sound French, it’s a classic American dish made with boneless chicken breast, ham slices, and soft cheese, all wrapped together and fried or baked to cook. It’s only been around for the past fifty years, but it’s made an impression on the culinary world for being an accessible yet pleasing, impressive kind of dish for the home cook. But because of that, it’s also gotten a bit of a bad reputation, being known as dated, amateurish, and kind of hokey in professional circles. It’s the savory equivalent of the Baked Alaska, in a way: a popularist American creation that sounds fancier than it really is.
It’s this reason, I’ve discovered, that a lot of the more “respectable” restaurants in New York City won’t put chicken cordon bleu on their menu. But what do you do when you’ve just got to have this American classic in your life? I had to go back to a restaurant I previously showcased for Pears Helena Day to find a decent cordon bleu being served. Le Rivage restuarant definitely has it on their menu, in large portions and surrounded in a mushroom cream sauce. Happy customers love that it’s perfectly cooked and exactly what you look for in a cordon bleu: thin, flavorful chicken breast, layers of prosciutto, and delicious cheese. What’s so great about this restaurant is that, unlike many repeat offenders on the NYC Food Holidays blog, it’s upscale but still affordable–so you really can splurge and hit Le Rivage twice in a month for all your food holiday desires!
340 W 46th St (between 8th Ave & 9th Ave)
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“For dinner, I had the Chicken Cordon Bleu, and though it was presented differently than I was used to, it was delicious nonetheless. The chicken was tender, and the prosciutto and mushrooms were plentiful.”–Scott M.
“Hubby and I went to this restaurant being conveniently located in the theater district. we had the dinner prixe fix =) hubby had chicken cordon bleu which was excellent. cooked to perfection.”–Michele M.
Make sure you check out the updated NYC Food Holidays Map to find this most recent holiday!