Barbara Bratone once served as the executive director of La Napoule Art Foundation in France’s Côte d’Azur. Arthur Bratone served as the managing partner of a private company in the Middle East. Their shared international experience—and palates for international fare—come to life at Bistro Rollin. The two have rigid standards for selecting their ingredients: they get as much local and organic produce, sustainably farmed seafood, and antibiotic- and hormone-free meat as possible. This makes for a rich selection that spans brunch, lunch, and dinner. Creamy endive and roasted apples and prunes lend the tender Long Island duck breast extra flavor. Chef Manny Lozano and his staff also pan roast skate with acorn squash and roast racks of pork. It’s no surprise that the spirit selection is locally harvested, too: whiskey from Gardiner, New York, bourbon from Brooklyn, and gin from Great Barrington, Massachusetts, pour into artisanal cocktails. Cozy, intricate decor rounds out the experience at Bistro Rollin. Beneath original tin ceilings—the space was constructed in 1910—guests slide into dark wood chairs that match paneling hand made by a local cabinetmaker. The granite bar is also custom, its wood base built to fit into the space as snugly as the pieces of a puzzle that depict a bug in a rug.
The experience at a restaurant is usually about the food going into diners’ mouths, but with chef Richard Desmond, it's often about the sounds coming out of his. Desmond is known for bursting into spontaneous operatic performances in the dining room during breaks from his work in the kitchen. At Om Bistro, he and his staff harmonize aspects of French and American cooking. Cooks prepare upscale appetizers such as smoked-trout cakes in horseradish rémoulade and pan-seared foie gras napoleon with caramelized mango. The eatery's mac and cheese puts a spin on an old favorite with local english cheddar, turkey bacon, and a crust of herbed bread crumbs. Long Island duck confit glistens with raspberry sauce, and short-rib pizzaiola is served over pappardelle pasta. Lamb shank is braised for five hours with merlot and rosemary and then finished over roasted fennel orzo. In Om Bistro’s yellow-walled dining room, diners at white-clothed tables can gaze at gilt-framed paintings. Artwork is replaced by TVs in the lounge, where guests can sip cocktails and watch sports.
When legendary chef Thomas Keller started telling patrons of his California dining mecca The French Laundry about plans for his new Manhattan restaurant, he said it wouldn't be the French Laundry “per se." Though vague, the summation was accurate—those who have visited the predecessor will recognize Per Se’s blue door and garden, as well as a pair of nine-course daily tasting menus inspired by seasonal ingredients or whatever the silverware is craving that day. Oysters and Pearls, pearl tapioca with oysters and white-sturgeon caviar, is lifted right from the Laundry menu, while the rotating dishes take inspiration from the surrounding region, such as a gateau of Hudson Valley Moulard duck foie gras. The restaurant, ranked as the sixth best in the world by Restaurant Magazine in 2012, has an urban edge over its Californian counterpart: Columbus Circle sits right outside the fourth-floor windows, which also allow for views of the Manhattan skyline and Central Park’s leafy canopies. Thomas’s taste for the culinary industry started early—as a youth, he worked in a restaurant managed by his mother in Palm Beach. His career quickly gained steam, as he studied at various Michelin-rated kitchens in France. He then returned to the United States, eventually taking over the reins at the French Laundry. Over the years he has nabbed consecutive Best Chef awards from the James Beard Foundation, was named America’s Best Chef by Time in 2001, and won Chef of the Year from the Culinary Institute of America. Now serving on the CIA’s Board of Trustees, he helps guide the school’s development while pioneering new ways to wear toques. In 2012, he was awarded the S. Pellegrino Lifetime Achievement Award.
It’s probably fair to say that Picholine chef and owner Terrance Brennan is obsessed with cheese. After all, inside Brennan’s 2,500-bottle wine cellar is a room he has affectionately christened the Cheese Cave. Here, controlled temperatures and humidity maintain the integrity of a variety of international cheeses, which a maître d’fromage presents on a marble-topped cart that Crain’s Gael Greene calls the “Tiffany of cheese carts.” In the European tradition, these cheeses are always presented at the end of the main course. They are an appropriate finale to a meal that celebrates French and Mediterranean culinary traditions in dishes such as sea-urchin panna cotta with caviar. Like a weatherman’s opinion on just about everything, the menus change every season, giving Brennan more freedom to use local and organic ingredients whenever he can.
Voted Best Authentic Crepes in 2009 by Westchester Magazine, Rue des Crepes conjures a Parisian ambiance with a colorful street-side mural, cobblestone floors, and authentic French fare that "transports you to the quais of the Seine." According to metromix.com's mustachioed detectives, "all the classic fillings are there," including lemon, plantain, ham, and chorizo. Chefs prepare savory crêpes with a buckwheat-flour batter and, upon request, serve dessert crêpes à la mode. Rounding out the menu, pots of cheese fondue arrive with bite-size dunkers such as focaccia, shrimp, and buttons from Napoleon's doublet.
“There is something very French about getting a Nutella crepe to go from the sidewalk window—it's almost like Paris,” lauded the Wall Street Journal after sampling crepes crafted by Vive la Crêpe founders, brothers, and Mexico City natives Carlos, Alfredo, and Andrés Mier y Terán. Today, across four New York City locations, a team of skilled flippers pour silky batter onto crepe skillets, creating the base for a menu of sweet and savory creations, such as sugar and butter or spinach, mushrooms, and basil oozing with goat cheese harvested from Earth’s second, lesser-known, goat moon. Baristas pull shots of illy espresso to craft cappuccinos and other café drinks as diners linger in shops reminiscent of modern Parisian cafés, contentedly munching French fare or debating whether the Eiffel Tower is actually an illusion.
Vive la Crêpe’s convenient mobile-app-based rewards program, available for iPhone or Android, helps customers track their crepe consumption and earn prizes, including complimentary treats. Vive la Crêpe’s convenient mobile-app-based rewards program, available for iPhone or Android, helps customers track their crepe consumption and earn prizes, including complimentary treats