In the introduction to The Balthazar Cookbook, Keith McNally captures the essence of what makes Balthazar so very special

It’s necessary to have a range of wines. But the very expensive ones terrify me. Besides, my palate dulls at anything over $50.

A restaurateur who believes that wines (and food too!) don’t have to be exorbitantly overpriced to provide satisfaction? What a novel idea! A desire for food that is straightforward and good (this is somewhat different from simple because the 48-hour process – some would call it an ordeal – to turn duck leg into confit certainly isn’t something you’d call a piece of cake), and most importantly, accessible. There’s no snobbery involved, there are no secret phone numbers or a tyrannical maitre d’ guarding the hallowed entrance to the great hall (it really is located within a great cavernous hall where yiddish seamstresses used to toil), just excellent brasserie food and consistently good service. Restaurants with that kind of attitude are hard to come by in the big apple (in fact I’m hard-pressed to find a restaurant on our littlereddot like that, and what do we have that even begins to compare?), they usually make it a point to make you feel as big as an ant. And that my friends is the secret to Balthazar’s incredible success, they make you feel so very special.

What I’d give to create something as marvelous as that!

And oh my mama what I’d give for their succulent duck confit, a side of warm goat cheese tart with caramelized onions, and a glass of crisp decently-priced white wine.

Do stop in for a visit if you’re ever in NYC.