Red Hen Bistro's made-from-scratch menu revolves around the fresh, seasonal meats, fish, and produce in French and Californian cuisine. Francophiles will feel conflicted in trying to select only one dish, be it the croque madame, an upscale ham-and-cheese sandwich topped with a sunny-side-up egg ($10.95), or the salad nicoise, a hearty helping of organic greens crowned with roasted potatoes and hard-boiled eggs ($8.95). California dreamers can sample West Coast–inspired temptations such as tamales with braised pork ($8.95) and fish tacos served in crisp tortillas ($9.95). Simplicity seekers can opt for the tomato soup and grilled cheese ($9.95) while enjoying the restaurant’s attention to detail—evident in both the food and front-of-house service. With rich-red walls, large windows boasting street views, and touches of French country charm, Red Hen Bistro exudes an air of casual intimacy, though lacy nightclothes are discouraged.
Chez Lucienne greets diners with a quietly refined meal in a space that's at once welcoming and intimate. Moving between the restaurant's quaint interior and beautiful outdoor terrace, a friendly and accommodating staff circles about white-linen tabletops and powder-blue banquettes while patrons mull over the inspired fare of Head Chef Thomas Obaton, whose affinity for innovative simplicity goes into every dish. Brunch crowds can indulge in the uncommon post-noon sensibilities of Tartare de Thon, a tuna tartare with wasabi caviar and sesame oil ($11.95), and savory crêpes de poulet au sauce champagne, a blanket of crêpe wrapped about chicken, sautéed spinach, mushrooms, roasted peppers, toasted peanuts, and gooey brie ($14.95).
From its glass-enclosed-rooftop vantage point, Terrace in the Sky sides executive chef Jason Potanovich's gourmet bistro fare with striking views of Manhattan. Four hundred varieties of wine complement 10 seasonally adjusted dinner appetizers for a practically endless number of opening ensembles, like sequined jumpsuits at an ABBA revival tour. Spiced spoked octopus a la plancha places white nectarines and squid-ink balsamic vinaigrette within tentacles' grasp ($17) before carnaroli risotto steamrolls duck confit, acorn squash, wild mushrooms, and porcini oil across tongue pavement ($31). Lunchers can feast on organic chicken breast with bacon lardons, cipollini onions, braised kale, and ultra-creamy potato purée ($22), and brunchers can choose any two entrees to hybridize a fixed-price meal ($35).
Snuggled behind a red-trimmed Parisian façade, Alouette French Bistro presents generous portions of contemporary French cuisine. The menu boasts a diverse selection of traditional Gallic proteins peppered with freshly sourced ingredients and unexpected flourishes, exemplified by the Maplecrest free-range chicken and chive pomme purée, slathered in a basting of shiitake and truffle oil. A bumper crop of all-organic fruits and veggies garnishes plates of diver sea scallops and roasted lamb with saffron-spiced fingerling potatoes and savory tomato confit. The wine list overflows with reds, whites, and bubbles from Europe and the New World, while desserts and cordials cap off dinners with dulcet notes of sweetness.
Alouette’s intimacy is enhanced by flowing red curtains, vintage hardwood flooring, and an elegant antique chandelier. Owner Jon Michael Pardo cultivates a high-class, yet low-key atmosphere, plying patrons with elegant meals prepared by a native French chef and delivered by a friendly wait staff. The two-tiered space allows for romantic dining as well as weekly musical performances by local jazz, classical, and washboard-percussion performers.
Epernay’s executive chef Jayson Grossberg trained under legendary French chef Jean-Louis Palladin before attending New York’s Culinary Institute of America. Grossberg has used his pabulum-preparing powers for good and not evil, recently redesigning Epernay’s menu to add flavorful new dishes, such as the summer gazpacho with crab meat and lime ($10.95). Fresh-caught mussels come in three broths, such as the “a la Linda” with saffron and tomato ($15.95 single serving, $19.95 shared platter). If you'd like to keep your meal as light at a globetrotting eccentric's hot-air balloon, try a juicy beet salad with summer melon, arugula, and feta cheese ($10.95). Reward your stomach for keeping quiet during last night’s visit to the opera with an entree such as caramelized sea scallops with sweet corn, bacon, and tomato ($26.95). Or delve into the crispy duck breast with wild mushrooms, pistachios, and asparagus soaking in a sundried blueberry jus ($26.95) to enjoy a culinary harmony unseen since the California Raisins dominated the airwaves.
Crepes on Columbus fills its namesake dish—thin, made-to-order pancakes—with sweet and savory ingredients, imbuing each bite with Franco-Spanish flavors. The quaint café’s crepes adapt to any appetite, brimming with rich infusions such as nutella and strawberries or roasted chicken and ratatouille, and serve as emergency head coverings during freak downpours of jams and preserves. The friendly wait staff serves both breakfast and dinner all day, comingling omelets, juicy cuts of meat, and seafood on tabletops, sided with desserts and smoothies.