When I was in high school, the kids who took French class were treated to a special end-of-year lunch at a restaurant housed inside a historic 19th-century lecture hall in Salem, Massachusetts. While dining at The Lyceum, we had to speak only in French and at least try les cuisses de grenouilles (frogs’ legs). We were momentarily confused that the restroom door had a “femmes” sign on it–but we were convinced that delicious food and fancy waiters were what life in Paris must be like.
Some 40 years later, The Lyceum lives on. New ownership and a recent renovation have brought this grand dame’s menu and decor into the “here and now.” You’ll find pasta and Cobb salad now– ces ne sont pas francais–and the frogs’ legs are a thing of the past, but the onion soup with gruyere, the croque monsieur and sole meuniere, not to mention some of the crispiest frites on two continents, surely do remind me of my French teacher, Mlle Godfrey.
43 Church Street, Salem, MA