A visit to Le Veau d’Or (translates to The Golden Calf) at 129 E 60th St. (Lexington Ave) never disappointed me. I always enjoyed indulging in this French bistro classic that was a fantastic time warp.
A publisher friend would always take me here for a monthly lunch during the 1970s until he passed on in 1981. His firm was on Lex, and he said he had a “permanent lease on his favorite table” at Le Veau d’Or. It seemed it would always be waiting for him and his friends.
Between having a glass of the house Bordeaux, garlicky escargot in melted butter, a plate of mussels and Edith Piaf music piped through the speakers began my immediate transport to France right on the East Side of Manhattan. To end it all was the buttery crusted tarte, filled with tart apples and smothered in sweetness.
Black-and-white photos of Parisian Street scenes such as the historic Les Halles market in Paris and some watercolors, and street signs adorn the walls. Pink tablecloths with white linen pressed coverings set with flowers and candles are found on the tables. The pace was always leisurely, where one could enjoy each bite without being rushed.
Le Veau d’Or opened in 1937 and has changed hands only a few times since. It immediately became a celebrity haunt from the 1940s through the 1960s. It later became a favorite venue for writers, publisher’s theater types and Upper East-Siders.
Robert Trebaux was the son of French dairy farmers. He worked his way up the Parisian restaurant trade before heading to the United States. He bought Le Veau d’Or in 1985 and never changed a thing. He then managed to stay in business by purchasing the building, in which he resided in an apartment upstairs.
Mr. Treboux passed on in 2012. The restaurant has since been managed by his daughter Cathy. She gained the expertise first-hand of running the place since she worked alongside her father beginning at age ten. I do hope that it stays just the way I remember it for an exceptionally long time.