Chez Josephine is a unique and charming homage to Josephine Baker, the young American-born entertainer who became famous in Paris during the Jazz Age and had her own eponymous bistro in Montmartre. A landmark in the theatre district for nearly 30 years, owner and host Jean-Claude Baker, an unofficially adopted French son of the legendary performer, ensures that everyone has a good time. Summer is a lovely time to sit at the sidewalk café and sip a Folies Bergère or Princess Tam Tam cocktail. Like its namesake, the restaurant is a celebrity magnet.
Executive Chef Frank Diaz turns out sophisticated French plates with a touch of soul, such as Elvira’s (Josephine’s grandmother) Down Home Fried Chicken with sweet potato fries and blueberry corn bread, a signature dish. The chicken is rubbed with lemon and allowed to marinate in a particular spice mix before it is deep-fried. A favorite appetizer is the Chinese Ravioli, stuffed with triple cream French goat cheese, dressed with a ginger jus, and garnished with chopped chives and pine nuts. Lobster Cassoulet, on the menu from day one, is a fragrant and tasty mélange of the sea. Desserts helped bring this restaurant its two stars from The New York Times, so don’t leave without trying the Crème Brûlée (one of the two best in the city), or Le Delice Josephine, also known as Chocolate Heaven. Dinner Tuesday to Saturday, 5pm to 1am; Sunday brunch and dinner noon to 10pm. -- Marian Betancourt