Owners Sarac and Eddie divide up duties at Mermaid Restaurant, as Sarac infuses traditional Italian and French recipes with his signature flair in the kitchen and Eddie dotes on patrons and their imaginary dates in the dining room. Eddie and Sarac's symbiotic relationship mirrors that of their Italian and French dishes, which seamlessly mingle on the menu. Upscale entrees bridge the gap between the two countries: short cavatelli pasta brings the flavors of Italy, while côtelettes d'agneau, grilled baby lamb chops in a rhone red wine demi glace sauce, fills patrons’ mouths with French-born flavors without anyone having to lick the Eiffel Tower.
A hefty list of wines complements both the upscale fare and the ambience, with racks full of bottles surrounding the dining room. Soft light shines down, accenting hardwood floors, and crisp white tablecloths make an elegant landing pad for each dish or drink.
Brasserie Persil emulates the classic French caf?: it has rich wood paneling, stone-inlaid floors, and a wide variety of traditional French food. Brunches of goat cheese and mushroom crepes or croquet monsieurs make way for elegant dinners of steak tartare, filet of sole meuniere, and beef bourgignon. Feel free to sip a French wine, beer, or espresso martini as you finish up a dessert or a doodle of yourself scaling the Eiffel Towers on your placemat.
Tasty Crêpes's capable crepe craftsmen flip sweet and savory griddle cakes, artfully dressing them in delectable toppings that include local and sustainable fruits and vegetables. Strolling down a cafeteria-style line, patrons belly up to the serving counter to admire cooks as they sizzle traditional or whole-wheat batter on hot plates and then shout out specialty ingredients to customize their edible pouch. In honey-mustard crepes ($6.50), chicken, honey mustard, and herb crème shimmy through fluffy caverns, and chocolate brownies and bananas sweetly cohabitate inside the Brownie Passion crepe ($5.50). For satiating self-expression, diners can color a plain flour canvas ($3.99) with an assortment of cheese, meat, fruit, and nut toppings ($1 each). To wash tender morsels down hatches, nibblers can sip a 100% juice fruit smoothie—a much safer way to get your daily dosage of fruit than ransacking a still-life art class.
As the duo behind former hot spots Frederick's Downtown, Jour et Nuit, and Lemon, Frederick Lesort and Antoine Blech know a thing or two about creating internationally influenced restaurants. With Opia, the pair brings together the urbanity of Paris with New York City's nonchalance for a unique dining experience.
A Look Inside
Dark hardwood swathes the restaurant's 4,000-square-foot opulent interior, which features burgundy seating. These rich hues contrast with the balconies' glittering views of the city. Though the backdrop is sumptuous, the vibe is laid-back. Fodor's called the design "drop-dead gorgeous" before saying "Opia is ideal for couples in full-on infatuation or spouses hoping to remember the wine-and-roses days before the kids."
French Cuisine with a Global Slant ?
Classic French cuisine, such as beef bourguignon and chicken paillard, headlines the menu. The chefs add a global touch to other dishes, including the Couscous Royal, which features lamb chops and merguez, and the sashimi appetizer served with soy-yuzu dressing.
Bubbling cauldrons fill the tables at Taureau, sending up a bouquet of scents that mixes simmering cheese blends, deluxe chocolate at its melting point, and oil that adds a crispy layer to marinated meats. These smells, and the flavors that they represent, were enough to entice the staffers at Zagat, who gave the spot a coveted 27 out of 30 for their molten entrees. During each outing, diners skewer everything from carrots, strawberries and marshmallows to pork tenderloin and filet mignon before sending them deep into the tableside fondue vats. The decadent feast caters to the tastes of both vegetarians and clients with food allergies, and every portion comes with chunks of fresh bread and field green salads. Meals unfold within the romantic confines of Taureau’s BYOB dining room, which is a favorite setting for occasions ranging from first dates to intense interrogations of criminal gingerbread men.
Featured by the New York Post as an authentic haven for French cuisine that stands apart from its competitors—a sea of pizzeria and takeout Chinese options—Le Bouchon woos diners with the complex bouquet of rich sauces and roasted meats that is chef Roman Nikhman's love letter to the French cooking tradition. Le Bouchon, which takes its name from the French word for wine cork, offers à la carte and banquet menus featuring sumptuous Gallic standards including foie gras drizzled with wild-berry port wine or a classic duck magret with a fig-port-wine reduction. Chef Nikhman's love for French cuisine began with its rich sauces, according to the Post, and the menu features mother sauces and reductions by the spoonful, all of which complement the broad palette of delectable proteins that include duck, lobster, escargot, and rich roasted portobello mushrooms. The knowledgeable staff can help diners choose a varietal from among the restaurant's colossal wine-barrel selection or the wine rack that takes up an entire wall, represented on a wine list 13 pages long.