October 31, 2005 | Ask Gael

I need an old-world cocoon for Grandma's lunch

        An escapee from Detroit, I live my dolce vita on the Upper West Side with countless downtown detours, far from the East Side hoity-toity that makes the Carlyle Restaurant feel so foreign. Perfect for an unreconstructed grandma. Indeed, aging debs from the nabe, capitalists in bespoke suits, even Tony Blair hosting a dinner for fourteen, feel like they never left home in these handsome and expensive trappings. (Alas, a few of the ceiling lights are rudely aimed.) And tuxedos retired, the gracious, shockingly agreeable minions make even pedigree-manqué interlopers like me feel wanted. If you have to ask how much, you can’t afford it - $42 for “viande” or “poisson” ($10 extra if the sole swam near Dover). Executive chef James Sakatos, coached by Christian Delouvrier, shows a skillful touch with buttery risotto with chanterelles and a gorgeously seared sea scallop with celeriac rémoulade. The chef’s lobster salad dances with flavor, something missing in the black-bass barigoule. But the aristocratic Blue Foot chicken for two, a serious rival to the vaunted bird at my favorite Paris bistro L’Ami Louis, is carefully roasted, carved tableside, and lavished with voluptuous cèpes. And when the captain brings a tray of all-you-want caramels and candy, I feel born-again rich.

35 E. 76th St. at Madison Ave. 212 570 7192

Patina Restaurant Group