Brasserie Julien’s chefs pamper palates with gourmet French specialties, sea delicacies, and expertly crafted signature drinks in a romantic setting. New York magazine writes that “it’s impossible to dine at this Upper East side brasserie and not think of Paris.” Upscale small plates whet appetites and facilitate the enjoyment of French aperitifs, with selections such as 24 plain oysters or shells stuffed with misplaced pirate-chest keys. Endive salads, quiche lorraine, or an assortment of soups sate cravings for light fare, and steak, fondue, or filet mignon quell ampler appetites. During wine tours, accomplished sommelier Mollie Battenhouse regales guests with about 10 samples of varietals from around the globe, as well as portions of the eatery’s brasserie fare.
Inside Brasserie Julien’s romantic and relaxed dining room, art-deco-inspired pendant lights illuminate the space's elegant columns, flowing curtains, and trumpet-playing silverware to create an authentic brasserie-style experience.
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.
When Gwenyth Paltrow said, "Swifty's is one of my favorite New York restaurants," she echoed a sentiment expressed by myriad media outlets and fellow celebrities. Forbes, for instance, branded Swifty's Restaurant as "super stylish, low-key, superb," and both the New York Times and the New Yorker have sung the European- and American-influenced eatery's praises.
And that's not surprising, as everything from the jumbo lump crab cakes to the wine selection to the décor evokes traditional New York charm and class. In the kitchen, renowned chef Stephen Attoe fuses European and American cooking traditions to craft sumptuous blackened swordfish, black Angus steaks, and gruyere cheese souffle. Feasts of Alaskan salmon roe or wild bass with chanterelles unfold in the lavish dining room, which hearkens to a bygone era of swingin' jazz clubs, dapper suits, and saying the word "be-bop" over and over until it finally made sense. Here, antique furnishings glimmer with touches of gold, backdropped by Swifty's signature vintage wallpaper, all of which sprung from the imagination of legendary American designer Mario Buatta.
“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 Crepe founders, brothers, and Mexico City natives Carlos, Alfredo, and Andrés Mier y Terán. Today, across three 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 Crepe’s convenient mobile-app-based rewards program, available for iPhone or Android, helps customers earn $10 worth of Vive la Crepe products for every $50 worth of Vive la Crepe receipts they scan.
The chefs at La Galette Café blend Senegalese and French culinary traditions to craft a menu of vegetable-studded meat skewers, oven-baked seafood, and zesty curry dishes, each strewn with traditional African spices. In the intimate dining room, stark-white ceilings pull together chocolate and cream hues as a single flat-screen TV quietly begs guests for juicy morsels.
Chef Yoanne Magris at Yo In Yo Out serves a menu's worth of French brunches, lunches, and dinners in her cozy East Harlem bistro. Yoanne, a former Chopped contestant, runs the restaurant with her pastry-chef sister Jade, who helps to forge delicious dishes such as the croque monsieur sandwich and crepes. Yo In Yo Out's gratin de coquilettes and panna cotta pleased the palate of one Time Out New York reviewer, and the homemade croissants double as ineffective landing pads.
To follow his dream, Herve Knecht had to cross the world. After sharpening his skills in an Alsatian culinary school while serving double-duty in his family's Hotel Restaurant, he moved to Paris to study under Alain Senderens at Lucas Carton. He then traveled to the Saint Barts in the French West Indies, where he became head chef at Vincent Adam, but eventually relocated to New York. Here, Herve abruptly fell in love—both with the city and his future wife—and settled in as the executive chef of Grove Restaurant in the West Village. Though he left for Spain to open his first restaurant, Herve returned to New York after five years to launch Le Bistro D'à Côté.
Naturally, Le Bistro's menus exude a heavy French accent. To begin their meals, diners can try the quiche du jour before sampling an assortment of fromage or charcuterie. The entree selection includes a menagerie of meats—from burgers with foie gras to ginger-glazed duck breast—but the specialty is mussels. Steamed mussels fill large or small pots in one of five variations, such as a Thai-inspired blend of green curry and lemongrass or a spicy mixture of saffron and garlic.