French cuisine is the bedrock upon which most culinary pursuits are based—at least in the fine dining world. But bistro-style eateries are where most of us would dine on a regular basis, when the mood for Steak Frites and good red wine calls. The city has enjoyed quite a few French newcomers in recent months; here are a few of them.
LA GAULOISE This very cute, very French little bistro took over part of its sister restaurant Clarkson, transforming a zebra-themed dining room into an antiques-strewn eatery serving French classics. Here you’ll find Steak Frites, Escargots, Frisee aux Lardons and even “Thighs of Nymphs,” also known as frog’s legs. There’s a lot of butter, copious wine and even a vintage foosball table sourced from France’s Braderie de Lille flea market.
2 Clarkson Street, West Village, 212-675-5535; website
PARDON MY FRENCH Though technically a reboot of the Casimir family, this clubby little spot offers a contemporary version of the bistro-style restaurant that pulls flavors from France and its influences across the globe. Think roasted lamb shoulder with rosemary, creole-style cod fritters and roasted bone marrow served with baguette. Though it boasts all the aesthetic hallmarks of a quiet neighborhood spot, the speakeasy-style bar and “deep house music” make it better suited for a sexy date than dinner with your parents.
103 Avenue B, 212-358-9683; website
LA GAMELLE Motorino’s Mathieu Palombino’s new Bowery brasserie joins a few other Francophile spots in the area, bringing with it a relaxed environment in which to enjoy reasonably-priced French specialties. La Gamelle’s charcuterie has been very well-received; Quick Bites columnist Scott Lynch also loves the Oeuefs Mayonaise, Asparagus Mousseline and Spring Leeks and Ham. Lynch concludes: “If you want a good meal, don’t want to spend a fortune, and are not in the mood to deal with the usual lower-Bowery scene, La Gamelle could become your new neighborhood go-to.”
241 Bowery, 212-388-0052; website