Arcane may be in the middle of Alphabet City, but its menu reads like that of a creole café in the Caribbean: braised-conch risotto; mussels with shaved coconut; grilled beef with green papaya, chili, and lime. Its windowed doors swing open on warmer days, creating a breezy, open-air vibe that complements the island fare. Polished-wood banquettes line the exposed-brick walls, and behind a prominent wood bar, bartenders sling out rum-based cocktails such as the fruit juice-infused planters punch. The dessert menu and after-dinner drinks are another testament to Arcane’s love affair with libations, with the banana flambé set afire with rum and served alongside four types of digestifs.
After moving from the south of France to break into the New York catering world, David Benizeri decided he was finally ready to have a "window on the street," according to Jenny Miller’s New York Magazine profile. And so, in the storefront of an old barbershop, Benizeri went to work creating Beny's Delice. There, amid dark reclaimed wood and a pressed tin ceiling, he and his former catering partner Tarik Slamani created a café that blends the Mediterranean influence of Benizeri’s Riviera home with salads, sandwiches, and a "very, very traditional French pastry case" that only watches Louis Mal movies without subtitles.
A.O.C. Bistro transposes a portion of Paris to Park Slope with a red-brick bistro packed with black-veneered tables, sleek leather booths, and warm, trapezoidal light fixtures. The menu features something for Francophiles of all stripes: brunch items—such as eggs mediterranee with basil and merquez sausages, and Feuille de Brique, a phyllo pastry stuffed with ham and cheese and topped with a poached egg—are served until 4 p.m. every weekend, and the dinner menu includes Italian-inspired pasta dishes alongside such French classics as duck-leg confit and coq au vin. The restaurant also offers online ordering and take-out, and boasts far cheaper delivery charges than sending dishes via zipline from the Eiffel Tower to the Statue of Liberty.
Autour du Monde takes its name from the world travels of its founders, who reflect their wanderlust in the restaurant’s subdued purple accents and vintage globes. These international inspirations also inform the dinner menu, which transforms seasonal ingredients into hearty appetizers such as butternut squash soup with pumpkin-seed oil ($7). Duck and lamb entrees such as the duck breast in blood-orange reduction ($20) dazzle adventurous taste buds with more color choices than a jumbo box of crayons inside a jumbo bag of jellybeans. Omnivores, meanwhile, can dig into a double filet of boneless trout served with quinoa and cumin carrots ($20) while admiring the way the sconce lighting’s refracted halos play upon the violet and marigold walls.