The mastermind behind French Tart is Chef Laurent, whose innovation earned him a gold medal for Most Creative Restaurant Dessert at the Eger Foundation’s 2011 Taste of Staten Island and whose flaky croissant recently won the New York Daily News' Best of New York award. His culinary team also whips up authentic French specialties, including sweet and savory crepes, cheese fondue, and French-style sandwiches, dashed with originality. The eatery’s ever-shifting menu has included such offerings as pan-seared salmon inside puff pastries, zucchini-flower omelets, and chocolate ravioli. Iced teas are served with a blend of rose petals, lavender, jasmine, and dried berries. Along with breakfasts, brunches, and dinners served six days a week, Chef Laurent and his crew fill gift baskets year-round with baked goods, imported French foods, and slightly smaller gift baskets.
Green Perrier bottles line the wood-paneled walls of the dining area, which is dotted with framed artwork depicting rainy afternoons and Moulin Rouge performers. Fragrant aromas emanate from the kitchen, where Chef Vincent Tropepe prepares Parisian bistro fare. A roster of celebrity clientele including Rudy Giuliani, Michael Bolton, and Hillary Clinton has enjoyed the refined techniques that Tropepe brings to his preparation of traditional French fare such as escargot Provençal, duck à l'orange, and crepe suzette. The menu also includes selections from Chef Tropepe's new cookbook, From Behind the Kitchen Doors, which details his career and favorite recipes. The rotating dessert selection includes a range of handmade pastries artfully adorned with meringue, fresh berries, and abstract chocolate renderings of local news anchors.
A red awning invites diners into Bistro Café 72, where a simple menu of French country fare sates Bay Ridge's neighborhood noshers. Inside the warm, candlelit atmosphere rests hearty, meat-centric dishes, which include magret de canard, a sliced duck breast in a cassis sauce ($18), and the steak frites standard, accompanied by butter "Maitre d'Hotel" fries ($18.50). Daily specials, like most schoolchildren's treatises on dodge-ball etiquette, are written elegantly on a chalkboard; each specialty dish comes preceded by an array of elegant appetizers, such as the homemade chef's country terrine ($7.50) or a raw-beef tartar with French cocktail sauce ($9). Whether from the menu or specials board, Bistro Café artfully arranges each meal on its plate, and all guests are encouraged to eat with a paintbrush.
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.
Executive chef Josh Capone’s strict standards for locally sourced ingredients and penchant for West Coast–inspired entrees has earned The Exchange at The Setai Wall Street high praise from journalists and foodies alike. Before diners sample the award-winning food, evenings at The Exchange at The Setai Wall Street begin in the "wine hallway," where candlelight flickers off the floor-to-ceiling glass display cases brimming with wines from America, France, Italy, Spain, and more. Pendant lamps and silk throw pillows lend a calming air to the dining room, where housemade pâté and terrines herald entrees such as local porgy with coconut tapioca and green curry sauce. Pastry chef Alise Ciucci oversees elaborate desserts, including a chocolate napoleon and an inventive squash cheesecake with maple candy. A glass wall separates the kitchen from the dining room, allowing guests to watch the kitchen staff as they prepare and plate each dish.
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.