I popped into this little French joint for Brunch last weekend. I tried the steak burger and really enjoyed it. it was topped with melted brie, thin sliced tomato and cucumbers, and tartar sauce, of all things. It really worked nicely. And the fries were BONKERS. I’d definitely eat this burger again.
LES ENFANTS DE BOHEME
177 Henry St
New York, NY 10002
Quality Bistro opened back in January, if I recall, right when I started a hellish new job with insane demands on my time. Then, of course, the entire city went into lockdown from Covid-19. Somehow my work-life balance got even worse. I’m only just now finally beginning to break away from the +60 hours/week grip of this gig, to get back out there and review restaurants for you savage bastards.
Anyway, the point of that bullshit preface is really just to say that I’m excited to finally write about a new(ish) joint that I’ve tried, especially one that’s serving some awesome food.
Here’s my quick video run down of those spots, if you haven’t seen it:
First of all, this new place, Quality Bistro, is totally decked out. This is easily the most gorgeously decorated space in the entire Quality Branded suite of restaurants. High ceilings, beautiful booths, decor and tables – really on another level. They spared no expense. So when you go here, make sure you request a table inside. I recommend the booths in the room on the left when you walk in. The bar is sick too (hopefully some day soon we will be allowed to sit at one again).
The menu is decidedly French, which makes sense given the “bistro” restaurant name. But like all their other restaurants, they are aggressively beef-forward. I wouldn’t call them a steakhouse, per se, but they get very close to it. They offered five steak cuts when I was there: a filet mignon, a strip, a bavette, a tomahawk and a “cote de boeuf” rib eye for two. We went with the tomahawk, but let me run through the other stuff we tried.
We started with the escargots and the crab cake. The escargots are probably some of the best I’ve had in the city, rivaling Paul Denamiel’s at Le Rivage. Very close competition! And they’re in the shell too, which I love. Order these, and get a dozen because you save $10 when you jump from a half ($19) to a full dozen ($29).
The crab cake is massive. It’s about the size of an 8oz burger patty, thick too. Super crisp, great sauce. I think this would be amazing as a lunch sandwich with pickled green tomato on a brioche bun or a croissant, with a bit more green on top. Absolutely delicious.
Our mid course was the prime tomahawk. This comes slathered with Rogue Creamery smokey blue cheese – a TON of it!
The smell coming off of this thing was so amazing. It filled the massive dining room with funk.
The cook temp was a perfect medium rare. So juicy, so tender, and so packed with flavor. This is an easy 9/10. I stripped the fucker clean!
We chased that with the corn custard brûlée. I had high hopes for this, but it fell short for two reasons: (1) The inside was less custard and more clumpy scrambled egg. This is usually a turn off for me, but the flavor was really good, so I still devoured it. And (2), a bit heavy on the caramelized sugar on top. Too thick for my liking. The flake salt, however, really made the flavors on this pop. I can see this side being a star with a bit more fine tuning.
*SEE UPDATED REVIEW NOTES BELOW!*
Our third course was the Moroccan fried chicken. They serve a whole bird for two in a beautiful tagine with fresh cilantro, Moroccan pancakes and a trio of dipping sauces (spicy honey, Moroccan cilantro chimichurri and citrus yogurt).
The breading is really nicely spiced, with great middle eastern earthiness and aromas.
Absolutely jerkworthy. I’d get this again in a heartbeat. In fact, I’m glad we ordered big, because we took more than half of it home. I’m about to eat the left overs right now, and I’m psyched!
Last, we had the apple tart sundae with cinnamon ice cream. This was really good, and big enough to share with your date at just $12. The cinnamon ice cream tasted like Cinnamon Toast Crunch, my absolute favorite cereal of all time!
I guess that about does it for now. I plan to go back and try some of the other cuts, particularly the bavette frites, since that’s a little less common on menus. Definitely give this place a shot. Gaetano, Scott and Roger will treat you right. They provide amazing, clean service here, and you’ll feel safely spaced apart and very comfortable. Can’t believe I have to even mention such things right now…
My wife and I went back for round two, and tried a bunch more stuff.
For apps, we tried the taste flame, which is the joint’s take on Detroit style pizza + bread service. This was incredible!
Probably my favorite app here so far though, is this tuna carpaccio. Spicy, fresh, and deliciously refreshing.
These jambon beurre bites are pretty damn tasty as well.
This time, my wife went with the branzino. This was perfectly cooked and very flavorful. It comes with a choice of either salad or fries.
I went with the bavette, and also went with the French fries option.
They developed a great char on the outside…
While maintaining a perfect cook temp on the inside…
This was a solid 8/10. Really nicely executed.
On the side, we gave the corn brûlée another spin, and MAN were we glad that we did. As I expected, with the improvements I outlined above, this dish was a star. Much nicer texture inside (real custard-like), and lighter on the sugar top. PERFECT!
So that’s two steaks down, three to go: filet, strip, and rib eye for two. I’LL BE BACK!
Strip steak has a mild aged flavor, but a really nice peppercorn crust. Perfectly cooked throughout. 8/10.
Rib eye for two is great – a solid 8/10.
Lemon chicken is a sleeper here. Amazing dish!
Also really loved the glass for the French Bird cocktail. They should sell them!
My wife and I tried the newly opened Meatpacking District French joint “Coco J’adore” this past weekend.
This place has a really beautiful interior that’s just screaming to be infiltrated by trendy types, insta-models and brunch-drunk socialites.
It will no doubt become a big time scene place with hard to acquire tables, but contrary to what you might assume from my lead-in, it’ll be worth the effort to get in here.
Both the food and drinks are awesome. Over the course of our sweeping menu tasting, we tried four different cocktails.
1) Covent Garden
This refreshing take on a sour was made with gin, aperol, amaro, chamomile peppercorn syrup, egg white and lemon.
Rum, cachasa, passion fruit, demerara, campari and ginger beer.
Rye, ricard, earl grey tea syrup, black cherry and lemon.
This was a favorite. Vodka, cinnamon, green apple juice, lemon and rose powder.
All tended to be on the sweet side, but there were a few others that were more robust in profile as well. I’ll try those next time.
Okay on to the food.
First off, nice table bread with whipped butter.
This fava bean “hummus” with mixed olives and citrus was awesome. I could eat this by the bucketload.
These scallops were perfectly seared and presented in a sauce that was reminiscent of runny egg yolk. Delicious. That;’s a carrot salsa on top.
I loved the escargots. They’re served in-shell in an aromatic bowl of peppercorns. Delicious. These are top tier.
We tried two pasta dishes: the salt cod agnolotti, which was our favorite of the two, and the rabbit gnocchi. The rabbit ate more like a fall or winter dish, while the agnolotti was light, summery and fresh. Both good though.
Next up, the wild salmon with couscous and broccoli rabe. Excellent. Nice crispy skin too. This was my wife’s favorite.
The filet mignon was cooked to a nice medium rare and served on a bed of mashed potatoes with a mix of sautéed wild mushrooms. Very nicely done. 8/10.
For dessert, we had the creme brûlée and the chocolate soufflé with vanilla ice cream. Of these, we preferred the creme brûlée but both were good.
This is a great addition to the neighborhood. Go give it a shot before it gets mobbed!
1 Little West 12th Street
New York, NY 10014
Dining at Bistro Pierre Lapin was probably one of the best French culinary experiences I’ve ever had. Everything I ate was either good or bordering incredible. The meal began with a “slice” of pate, a plate of butter, olives and herb truffle goat cheese, and a basket of small French baguettes that were really hard to stay away from, even though I knew I was about to indulge in a massive and decadent French feast. This may be the best table bread in the city.
Next up was a foie gras mousse, which was silky smooth and one of my favorite bites of the night.
These little guys are pig’s ear pinwheels stuffed with spicy sausage. Really nice.
This head cheese incorporated a boiled egg in the middle. The flavor and texture on this was incredible. This is a must try.
The deviled eggs were great, getting a great pop of texture and flavor from the bacon and pickle additions.
This is a bunch of pig head meat that was deep fried into a delicious patty. Awesome.
This was probably the most unique preparation of escargots I’ve ever seen. They were served with a sunny side up egg, peas, fava beans and a garlic-butter sauce.
The frog’s legs here are the best I’ve ever had, and was one of my favorite dishes of the night. If you have never eaten frog’s legs before, get them here so that you are forever spoiled.
They offer two styles of burger here. The first is a simply grilled burger with foie gras on top, sandwiched between two slices of Texas toast.
They also have an American style burger here as well, with the traditional fixings.
I preferred the American burger over the Texas toast burger, but both were very tasty.
Speaking of toast, this preparation of cognac flambe mushrooms on brioche toast was delicious. I could see this going over really well with the NYC brunch crowd.
These tortelloni are stuffed with rabbit and served with sweet peas in a carbonara sauce (you can see the yolk).
One of the best dishes I tried here was this “Shake N Bake” style breaded pork chop, served with an au poivre sauce. There’s a great story associated with this dish that goes back to when Chef Harold Moore’s mother used to cook pork chops at home. Apparently she used to overcook regular pork chops, but when she followed the instructions on the box for “Shake N Bake,” they came out perfectly every time. So Harold came up with his own breadcrumb mixture here, and the dish is a tribute to his mother’s Shake N Bake dinners at home.
The chicken for two is a great way to go if you’re looking to share:
But I would recommend the leg of lamb if you are going with a group:
This beauty is deboned, stuffed with herbs and spices, rolled back onto the bone, covered with sauce and roasted for hours.
The result is a prime-rib like texture and some dangerously tender and delicious meat. You have to request this a day in advance, and it will feed four to six people with ease.
As for sides. I tried both the clarified butter fries and the truffle fries. Both were excellent, but I think I preferred the truffle fries.
Both the potato gratin and the potato puree were delicious. Between those, I prefer the gratin.
The broccoli was pretty good too. That brown plate at the bottom is actually foie gras stuffing for the roast chicken dish. That stuff is crack.
I will definitely be back here to try more dishes from the entrée menu, and most certainly the artichoke salad. And don’t forget to try one of their tasty and beautiful cocktails. This is their French margarita:
BISTRO PIERRE LAPIN
99 Bank Street
New York, NY 10014
I’m going to keep this one nice and simple. Boucherie Park is the second location of Boucherie, which I love. The menu is the same, and the decor is very similar. While I like the ambiance of the original location a bit better, this joint has an area up front that I like to call the “meat bar,” where you can order freshly carved slices of prosciutto. They even offer baguettes and sandwiches during the day for lunch from this area. With that give and take on the ambiance of each spot, they actually even out at the same score: 95. You may as well jump over to that review to read more on each section (though I may need to update it). This place is excellent.
On another visit we had chicken and rabbit. Rabbit:
My wife and I went to Marseille in the Times Square / Hell’s Kitchen area to help them promote a special menu for Stinky Cheese Week.
We started with some drinks, and then had a few more. They were all good. Coffee old fashioned, Stinky Cheese Week special negroni, Lillet spritz, and some champagne.
In fact I really liked the bar here as well.
I also really liked the bread and butter they served us with dinner.
We started with the Stinky Cheese Week special French onion soup. I enjoyed the cheese, and the beef broth had a pretty good flavor.
I’ve had better elsewhere, but it was certainly satisfying.
The escargot were a bit light on flavor. I was able to pick up the herb flavors easily, but the garlic and butter application was much less than what I’m used to. In fact it may have been an oil instead of a butter. At least that’s the concensus my wife and I came to. I didn’t dislike them, they were just very light and unexpected.
My wife ordered the duck, which had an interesting preparation. It struck us as more German than French: It came with boiled potatoes as opposed to gratin (menu said gratin). And it also came on a bed of sauerkraut, which seemed to throw off the flavors and compete with the duck.
Unfortunately the duck itself was tough and overcooked in parts.
I had the steak frites. While I ordered it medium rare, it came out at about medium well or well done. It had decent flavor though, despite the awful sin of overcooking, and the fries were actually great. 5/10.
Continuing with the Stinky Cheese Week theme, we shared the blue cheese ice cream profiteroles for dessert.
I kinda liked it. It was like eating a cheese plate in profiterole form, as the ice cream had the cheese in it, the cream puff represented the toast, crackers or bread, and the apples and honey came in the form of a sauce for pouring on top.
It was very interesting, but admittedly not for everyone. In fact stinky cheeses in general would fit that chatacterization, but what can I say: I love some stinky cheeses.
Of the seven cuts of steak I tried in New Orleans, the rib eye from Galatoire’s was the best.
It may not look like much from that shot, but it had a massive rib cap on it, and it was cooked perfectly from end to end with a great crust.
There was a little bit of bleed out, but it still remained extremely juicy. 9/10
Okay not that I got that out of the way, let’s talk about the rest of this kickass meal.
Excellent cocktails here, some signature, and many classic ones that are famous for the Big Easy.
This crab appetizer didn’t look like much either, and from the menu description it sounded like it would have been more than dressed lump crab on top of iceberg lettuce and garnished with tomato. Nonetheless it was delicious.
I tried a few versions of gumbo on my trip to New Orleans, but this one was the best. It was rich and thick, not overly salty, and had perfectly cooked duck and andouille within.
The Oysters Rockefeller were amazing. So much of that delicious “creamless” style creamed spinach. Pro-tip: if you’re going here to mimic a steakhouse meal experience, order this and skip out on getting the oysters app and creamed spinach side separately. This baby fulfills both very well.
The creamed spinach was kind of redundant at that point, but still really fucking tasty:
The Potatoes Au Gratin were excellent as well:
As were these Brabant Potatoes – very crisp:
The broccoli, on the other hand, completely phoned in. Lame. Simply steamed and flavored with some salt or butter.
But let me tell you, this Shrimp Étouffée was outstanding:
The shrimp were perfectly cooked. The sauce was incredible: smooth, perfectly velvety and nicely seasoned.
My wife ordered that, and I think the ultimate meal here would be to get the gumbo to start, the steak and etouffe to share as entrees with a side of Oysters Rockefeller, and you can finish up with this bread pudding for dessert:
Stinky Cheese Week is actually a thing! To celebrate, L’Express and Cafe D’Alsace (and all restaurants within the ownership’s group) are offering a special menu of selections that feature various stinky cheeses.
Okay so I said something about free dessert up above… Well, here is the explanation: I was invited in to try some food in order to let my readers know all about Stinky Cheese Week. If you go into one of their restaurants and mention the words “say cheese” and my blog or instagram account, they will comp you with a free dessert! The participating restaurants are Cafe D’Alsace, Le Monde, L’Express, Nice Matin, French Roast (both uptown and downtown) and Marseille.
Below are my reviews for both L’Express and Cafe D’Alsace.
249 Park Ave S
New York, NY 10003
My wife and I shared the raclette cheese and salumi platter as an app. This was pretty great. The cheese was stretchy and warm, and the meats were good quality.
I had the rib eye steak frites for my entree. The fries were nice and crisp, and the steak was cooked to a perfect medium rare.
While the steak was thinly cut, this isn’t a bad deal for just $29. The cap was tender and there wasn’t much gristle on it. The roquefort cheese and onion sauce really kicked this thing up a notch too.
My wife had the stinky cheese plate for her entree. Some of these fuckers were really funky!
And for dessert, a stinky cheese panna cotta that had a jam topping. This would have been perfect on a bagel, as the panna cotta was thick and had a texture and flavor similar to cream cheese.
1695 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10128
I started with a glass of mint tea. This was a really nice way to start a cheese-centric meal.
A buddy and I shared the frisee salad with bacon and egg. Very nicely done, and I was impressed with the addition of pork rinds.
For my entree, I went with the hanger steak frites, of course.
It was topped with a melted morbier cheese, caramelized onions and a red wine sauce.
I liked this steak more than the rib eye from L’Express. It had a great texture and thickness to it, and it was cooked perfectly with a nice crust on the outside as well.
The fries were great! Very crisp and nicely seasoned.
My buddy ordered the duck l’orange. It was pretty good but the steak was definitely the winning dish for the entrees.
For dessert, we shared an apple tart with vanilla ice cream. Not only was this beautiful, but it was absolutely delicious. I highly recommend ordering this.
My wife picked up a nice Gilt City deal for this joint that gave us $200 to spend for something like $100. I had heard great things about the burger here, so I figured it was time to check it out now that there was a flash deal at play.
The cocktail menu is pricey at $18, but very nicely crafted.
We shared that burger (the “White Label Burger”) as an app. The patty is an aged beef blend; the cheese is fontina; and it’s topped with a tomato jam and dijonnaise.
They cook it nice and rare, so you don’t lose any of that aged funk to the heat. It’s a potent burger, and part of me still loves a classic roadside American burger better, but this is kinda like having a steak between a bun. Definitely nice.
And like any good French joint, it’s served with frites.
These were pretty good, but not quite on the level of Boucherie, which has now become my benchmark standard, to which all French fries must be compared.
We also tried the calamari stuffed with lobster and rice.
Unfortunately there wasn’t much lobster to this dish. In fact, I couldn’t really find any or taste any in the bites I had. In any case, the tomato sauce was nice, as was the cook on the squid.
My wife had some rabbit, truffle and cheese ravioli for her entree. This was a small portion size for $25, but they at least warned us ahead of time that it would be.
They were excellent. Each raviolo seemed to be partitioned, with one side having the rabbit, and the other side having the cheese.
Of course, I had steak.
This was served with some dressed watercress, but I quickly brushed that bullshit aside. I sliced it up so you could see the perfect cook temp on this prime NY strip steak.
This was actually a steak frites, so it came with more fries and a peppercorn au poivre on the side. Well, I asked for it on the side so I could get this intense shot of foodpourn.
Did you just bust? Because I did.
I ate every bite. It was a great little steak. I didn’t detect any aged flavor, and I assume they would have advertised that if it were the case. Not too bad at $44, but on par with the Jubilee rib eye steak frites that I had just the other day for $40. 8/10.
We shared a lemon tart with basil ice cream for dessert. This was really pretty, and tasted a bit like a key lime pie with the herbaceous basil ice cream on top. We liked this a lot.
Oh and I should mention that this place also brings out an amuse at the beginning, as well as petit fours at the end. I only snapped the amuse, which was a tiny popover style bread with a truffle cream filling. The dessert capper was a chocolate hazelnut bite.
On a second trip, I came in to promote the burger for the Altamarea Group, as well as to try some other items with a group of Instagrammers. Here’s what we had:
Escargots served on bone marrow.
Squid ink spaghetti.
Those rabbit epaulettes again. So good.
Wild boar strozzapreti.
The White Label burger.
Tomahawk rib eye. This was a 10/10 – absolutely perfect.
Jubilee is a gorgeously decorated midtown east French restaurant that was founded by Eric Macaire, and is co-owned with Chef Luc Holie and his spouse Ilda. When you step into this joint, you feel like you’ve entered someone’s home, and are dining in their living room. Not only is the decor and atmosphere inviting, but the staff is very warm and friendly as well.
Jubilee is known for offering a variety of fresh steamed mussels in delicious sauces. There’s even a special, separate menu that’s dedicated to just mussels! If you’re like me and you can’t decide between the nine sauces, you can get a trio of mini pots to try. I suggest going with a group of people, that way you can get three trios to share as an app; you’ll be able to try all nine varieties!
My wife and I had the dijonnaise, curry and truffle chicken sauces. All were excellent but we liked the truffle chicken the best. What’s cool about the trio is that they remove all the mussels from their shells, so the juicy bivalves are swimming in pure flavor. And there’s a LOT of them in each cup; don’t be deceived!
A full size order of these will come with shells on, in a pretty metal pot. That’s more traditional. But I think the trio is a better value.
They also have some excellent prix fix offerings, both for lunch and dinner. For example, the dinner prix fix includes two courses and a beer/glass of wine. Not bad at all, considering they don’t cut corners on the selections or portion sizes. I’ll take mussels, a hanger steak with fries and a beer any day for under $30. That’s great!
Speaking of steak and fries, they serve up a pretty great boneless “cote de boeuf” rib eye frites here.
That’s a lot of fries! And they are perfectly golden crisp, to boot, and well seasoned. The steak is about an inch thick and 14oz. It had a great sear on the outside but maintained a perfectly pink medium rare on the inside. 8/10. Better than many midtown steakhouses.
Add the complimentary green peppercorn or bernaise sauce on top and you’re in heaven. Those sauces are great for fry dipping too.
Speaking of dipping, I couldn’t stop myself from dipping the fresh country style table bread into my wife’s platter of escargot that she got for her app. The buttery, garlicky, herby sauce was addicting!
And speaking of the bread, it was served with a smooth, spreadable soft butter. I hate when the butter is hard!
But I can’t forget to tell you about my app: the foie gras terrine. It was so incredibly smooth and flavorful, and so incredibly velvety and decadent. I highly recommend it.
We also sampled the grilled leek salad, which comes topped with a pair of fried quail eggs for good measure. I’m typically not a fan of leek texture – a bit too woody for me – but these took on an almost braised quality, and, as such, were super tender and flavorful.
Not only was the food good here at Jubilee, but it was also beautifully presented and plated. For example, take a look at this sea scallop and orzo dish.
Absolutely stunning, not to mention the perfect sear on those babies. And that sauce you see around the risotto was an earthy truffle and porcini blend that was drinkable.
No French meal would be complete without some house made French desserts. For me, creme brulee is an old standby that never disappoints. Here, it was smooth, rich with flavor, and perfectly caramelized on top.
But, rarely seen on menus is a Paris-Brest. I was excited to see it here. It was so light and airy, yet it still packed a walloping punch of flavor. That might have been my favorite of the desserts. It was really pretty, too.
And finally, warm chocolate cake with ice cream. Pure decadence. It was so soft and chocolately inside. It was kind of hard to pull away from this and eat the other stuff.
Dessert also came with these tiny little soft lemon cookie/cake hybrids. There’s a fancy French name for them, but a big, doofy, arrogant, proud American ogre like me doesn’t know it off hand and is too lazy to go looking for it.
In any case, this place is one of my favorite French restaurants now. They have weekly specials mapped out for the entire month. Right now is coq au vin, and later in the month there’s a beef bourgignon. I may have to go back very soon! I hope you go as well.