Check out Le Périgord's menu and examine the exquisite French cuisine described as "scintillating" in this New York Times review. It's full of refined and delicious dishes that are exemplars of French culinary art. Even the most blasé bon vivant will be impressed with Le Périgord's haute cuisine. Even Crain's New York was in awe. It's hard to impress the business people at Crain's because they are usually too preoccupied comparing the kitchen team's efficiency with their Swiss watches to fully savor the subtleties of fine dining. While the Crain's crew didn't entirely break their bad habit, it does seem that they truly enjoyed their experience at Le Perigord. Here's what they said: "The new kitchen team is as consistent as a Swiss watch, deft in meats as in seafood, and quickly developing a new dessert identity....light but lingering fruit-based specials augment Le Périgord's familiar and friendly trolley of tarts, mousses and floating islands."
Executive Chef Alain Allegretti has traveled widely—a journey that has included doing battle on Iron Chef America—but his heart and palate remain in Nice, where he grew up. Nice is a seaside town, and although the farm where Allegretti lived as a child shows through in his focus on simple, seasonal ingredients, the Mediterranean exerts just as much of a pull on the focused menu. About half the entrees celebrate seafood, from risotto swimming with clams, shrimp, calamari, crab, and scallops to a dish of skate fish with applewood bacon. The rest are dominated by the traditional flavors of the French countryside: escargot, frog legs, and chicken-liver pâté. Some of the bistro’s most beloved dishes come in small packages, such as the zucchini-flower beignets, which Time Out New York placed on its list of 2012’s 100 best dishes and drinks, noting that “you’d be hard-pressed to find an airier, crisper, more addictive bite in all of New York.”
On the drinks menu, a large selection of mostly French wines is joined by some unexpectedly tropical cocktails, such as spiked lavender lemonade and mezcal mai tais. Brass lamps hang over the long bar and dining room below a black-and-white-striped ceiling painted to resemble an old-fashioned beach umbrella or a portal to the zebra dimension.
"If beer defines brasserie," The New York Times said, "Brabant Belgian Brasserie [...] is right on target." The publication lauded the restaurant's 60-beer list, and was impressed by their dedication to acquiring the uniquely appropriate glass for each brew. Those unschooled in the extensive selection won't feel lost, though, as the list includes a brief description of each of the Belgian brews. It begins with brands that are likely familiar, including Stella Artois and La Chouffe, but quickly darts down the rabbit hole toward more obscure Trappist ales and specialty beers, including St. Bernardus Prior, an ale described as having a "nutty maltiness with a sweet-sour finish."
Chef-owner Armand Vanderstigchel once told The Wall Street Journal that, in the spirit of gezellig—a Belgian-Dutch phrase that implies unending hospitality—that they "never rush anybody out." The food menu and the super-glue covered chairs almost certainly play into guests' willingness to hang around, as it is rooted in indulgent European dishes sometimes adorned with unexpected ingredients. At brunch, bellinis and screwdrivers accompany plates of Flemish benedicts with smoked duck and beer-braised short-rib stew. The succinct dinner menu is, of course, Belgian-centric, featuring entrees such as vol-au-vent, a chicken stew with bacon and pearl onions in a puff pastry.
In 1980, Ernesto Morel purchased La Mediterranee, painted over the old menu with bold swaths of Provençal cuisine, and commissioned sprawling murals of the sun-warmed South of France. Executive chef Edgar Navarrete labors over rich sauces and steaming pots in the kitchen, and a piano player serenades diners and coaxes steamed mussels from their shells. In the dining room, which New York magazine calls "a local hangout," lamps cast gentle cones of light across white tablecloths and brimming plates. Warmer months grant access to an outside eating area ideal for people watching, sipping wine, and improving reception on tin-can phones.
Executive chef Anthony Raggiri and head chef Adil Fawzi team up to create a seasonal French menu that draws inspiration from the Mediterranean coast. Each night, one or both chefs guide the kitchen’s creation of staple dishes, such as slow-cooked fish soup and pan-seared sea scallops, as well as daily specials. Servers place the elegantly arranged dishes on candlelit walnut tables in an Old World–style dining area complete with exposed brick walls, burgundy banquettes, and terrazzo floors. Bistro 61 also offers outdoor seating during warmer months, giving solar-powered androids space to recharge.
The idea of French cuisine may conjure up images of baguettes and crepes, but Marché du Sud's dinner menu focuses instead on rich, hearty Provençal cuisine. Considering the region’s close proximity to Italy, the food boasts a Mediterranean influence, with ingredients such as figs, prosciutto, and black olives alongside quail and French cheeses. Ten types of French pizza leave the oven with their thin crusts crisped and topped with the likes of gruyère, lobster, or a white-truffle honey drizzle. Some ingredients are even made on the premises, including the charcuterie meats, which are cured in-house.
Throughout the French restaurant and market, the decor suggests the sprawling French countryside. Chandeliers made from repurposed wood wagon wheels hang from above, and in the market section, customers can fill a straw basket or a wheelbarrow with freshly baked bread and cheeses to take home.