A region’s cuisine often mirrors its people, from the seductive allure of French chocolate to the vitamin D–deficient pallor of white russians. Nibble a bit of francophone flavor with today’s Groupon: for $10, you get $20 worth of French bistro fare at Lina Frey on the Lower East Side.
Drawing from the original Alsatian recipes of his grandmother Lina, to whom he dedicated the restaurant, co-owner Patrice Bihina crafts an authentic à la carte selection of delectable French-bistro fare. The menu features a simple salad of beet and goat cheese ($8), a silky cream-of-zucchini soup ($7), and tangy brussels sprouts glazed in a balsamic reduction so delicious it will make finicky eaters forget they hate the color green ($7). Savor the raw appetite-crushing power of steak tartare with peppercorns, lemon, and truffle oil ($10), or live the life aquatic with sautéed salmon encased in a mustard and hazelnut crust ($12). Dishes are served tapas-style, allowing diners to create their own mix-and-match meals to share or to rabidly consume while their date takes a phone call. Lina Frey’s weekend brunch hushes in-between meal cravings, where patrons partake in the bistro’s celebrated crêpes. Delight in a delicate savory crêpe with mushrooms and emmental cheese ($12) or satisfy sweet teeth with a Nutella-filled morsel ($7).
Lina Frey’s dining room is decorated in a stylish mélange of industrial, vintage, and Rococo-inspired pieces that the owners procured from local flea markets and metal shops. During the day, a retractable skylight fills the space with a symphony of sunlight, boosting diners’ moods and charging the crêpe-making robots’ solar cells.
CBS New York aired a segment on Lina Frey. The New Yorker, New York magazine, Zagat, and Thrillist reviewed the crêpe-centered restaurant. Forty-one Yelpers give it an average of four stars, and OpenTable reviewers give it a 3.7-star average.
- Thank goodness for unassuming little spots like Lina Frey, where you can always snag a table—and a decent hamburger. – Lila Byock, New Yorker
- A tranquil Lower East Side respite, this airy bistro boasts an outdoor garden with flower-filled watering cans, slatted benches and a retractable roof. – Zagat
Beneath the cascades of light that pour through a central skylight, Lina Frey's wait staff scampers past a stone bar with steaks, seafood, and crepes. Intriguing aromas draw eyes toward the kitchen, where chefs harness the recipes that serve as a tribute to Lina Frey, a French native and the grandmother of co-owner Patrice Bihina. Sauces infused with peppercorns or reduced from port wine drape across plates on a sunny enclosed terrace that brings modern comfort to natural beauty like a butterfly's track suit. Amidst expanses of polished hardwood and vintage-inspired wooden tables, diners customize the shop's crepes, which The New Yorker noted formed a "satisfying supper when paired with the lemony sautéed spinach and a cold glass of French rosé." Glasses laden with wines and cocktails rise to toasts at the full bar with the gentle clinking sound of a lazy pianist.