This newly re-opened French joint offers three and five course prix fix tasting menus as well as a la carte dining. I went with some of the gang from Golden Packing to try out their wares and see what they are doing with the products Golden supplies to them.
The interior was beautiful and fancy.
First, the “Guillotine” cocktail. A bitter chocolate version of an old fashioned. Very nice.
Their table bread was this delicious basket of pao de queijo, a Brazilian cheese bread which is more addictive than crack. The owner is Brazilian so this was a nod to home.
We started with a tasting of yellowtail. This piece here was my favorite.
They will soon have an omakase sushi menu and a nice bar seating area for this part of the menu. They’re just waiting on some final refrigeration pieces behind the bar.
Next, Angel hair sea urchin carbonara. This was absolutely amazing. I just wanted MORE of it.
I ordered the chicken, since the chef spoke very highly of it when we visited him in the kitchen. Tender, juicy and extremely flavorful.
I tried a bike of my buddy’s duck as well. A nice light smoked flavor really made this pop.
The steak that Toqueville gets from Golden Packing is dry aged for three weeks. The cook is immaculate on this. Perfection. 9/10 because I wanted more than 6oz. ha!
This white truffle risotto was intensely earthy.
And this pineapple and lime sorbet dessert invention was otherworldly in its presentation. Wow!
I will definitely be back here again soon. Everything was delicious and the service and quality is worthy of a Michelin star for sure.
15 EAST AT TOQUEVILLE
1 E 15th St
New York, NY 10003
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!
I stopped into Pastis yesterday to try the burger. It was fantastic!
I have to be honest – part of me wanted to hate it. I know Pastis was loved by many back in the day, but I always despised the crowd of douchebags who went there. The place was (and is) beautiful. I don’t remember the food so much from back in the day, but this perfect chef’d-up Big Mac will definitely have me going back for more. I’ll try a steak frites too eventually. The fries are amazing, and they give you a lot with the burger.
This french joint just opened about two months ago with a really creative and unique menu. There were about eight starters that I wanted to try, but I ended up settling on three.
Black Garlic, Cynar & Bone Marrow Escargots
Incredible. The flavors, when combined, almost tasted like a really good balsamic. I’ve never really had snails like this before. Delicious.
Whiskey French Toast Foie Gras
This also had a cherry compote on it (on the toast in the background), along with some cocoa nibs and flake salt. So good. Really enjoyed this dish.
These massive head-on prawns were delicious. The spicy black garlic sauce really made them pop.
For the entree, we went with this 50-day dry aged cote de boeuf.
It comes with some tangy bone marrow and crispy fried onions, but what makes this stand out is the additional dry aging that they do in house. They get the meat at 28-days from Pat LaFrieda, but they age it for more time on site. I always find that this makes for a better aged flavor. 9/10.
We paired this with the schmaltz tater tots, which were fucking awesome.
We also had the purple and green asparagus, which was a special for the day. It had caviar and a fried/poached duck egg on top, along with a tangy hollandaise sauce.
For dessert, we took down this nice bread pudding.
This joint doesn’t have a full liquor license yet, but they do offer some creative amari type light cocktails, and a nice wine and beer list. I highly recommend this place. I know I’ll be going back to try the other apps that I wanted, along with some duck, chicken and pasta.
LE PETIT ROOSTER
491 Columbus Ave
New York, NY 10024
My wife and I came here for a quick meal before catching a flight to Spain. She had a credit for something like $56 so that covered the steak.
We had the strip steak. It was pretty crappy. No crust, WAY overcooked, and it tasted extremely cheap.
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 5
There’s a good selection of cuts here all day long, but the quality of their supposedly high end steaks – for which they are charging upwards of $50 – was pure shit. I’ve had better steaks at Tad’s. What a waste of time and money, and my wife’s’ restaurant credit. Had I known the steak would be this bad, I would have just gotten apps or she could have kept it for drinks at the bar.
Portion Size & Plating: 5
This seemed very small for a $50+ steak. Thin, flimsy. I expected a little thickness for a strip steak. The size of the spinach side was too small for the price as well. Plating was basic and as I expected though.
Given such poor quality of the steak, even with the discount my wife had this place was a waste of money. We saved $50+ but still dropped about $70 on other items.
The bar here is actually nice. Big. I would definitely have a drink there again, and the cocktails were pretty good.
Specials and Other Meats: 7
There were no real specials read to us, but I didn’t expect much from a steakhouse in the airport. As far as other meats go, the standard chicken and lamb were there I think.
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 5
We started with a wedge salad. It was massive – an entire head of iceberg lettuce. Great blue cheese crumble and dressing. Nice fried onions. I would have liked more bacon though.
The sautéed spinach was shitty. Watery, flavorless and a very small portion for the price.
Seafood Selection: 7
There’s standard steakhouse seafood fare here. I didn’t try any so can’t really rate it.
Service was good albeit a little slow toward the end. Nice waiter, and he seemed to know his meats as well.
For an airport eatery, this place was pretty nice inside. Open space, nice furnishings, and, as noted above, nice bar.
BOBBY VAN’S TERMINAL 8
JFK Airport, Terminal 8
New York, NY 11430
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
Frenchette has become a very popular place to eat since they scored some critical acclaim from the NY Times. Reservations are difficult to come by, but if you just walk in early and ask for a table by the bar, you should be fine. That’s what my wife and I did over the weekend.
We started with a pair of apps: the terrine and the mortadella.
The mortadella is $9 for about 3 slices of mortadella, placed atop a soft dinner roll and then hit with some shaved parmesan and black truffle on top. This was good, but a bit overpriced (and the truffle wasn’t really that flavorful enough to justify the cost).
The terrine was incredible. Probably one of the better terrines I’ve had. It came with toasted slices of baguette and jars of gherkins and Dijon mustard. A perfect way to start the meal.
They even still give you a bread basket with some nice butter for the table as well. We used that with the terrine as well.
Next up was the 100-day dry aged Masonic Farm rib eye.
That’s a garlic and herb butter you see there on top.
This was pretty good. Lots of really nicely tenderized meat, and tons of edible fat that tasted like meat jelly. The dry aged flavor came through in parts, but not in a wallop. I say this is about 8/10 on my flavor scale. Too pricey though at $135 for what was essentially a steak for one, even though they market this as a steak for two.
We didn’t stop there. We had to try the duck frites.
This was pretty good. While a few bites were sinewy, overall it was a nicely prepared duck breast. I’ve had better, but this is a really affordable and fun version of steak frites from the fowl kingdom.
I had high hopes for this last dish. Artichoke and couscous tagine.
It was bland. But not only that, there were hardly any pieces of artichoke in the dish. In fact, there was only ¾ of one artichoke in it. About eight olives, one or two small carrots, and a few strands of fennel. What a waste. At least I didn’t count on this being a main item.
Overall this was a good meal. I might consider going back for their beef steak frites or au poivre, but I think I’ve pretty much covered everything else that I wanted to try. If that frites doesn’t wow me, then there is no reason for me to come back other than for cocktails at the bar (they make some really nice stuff).
Some of the stuff here is good, but I’m not sure I agree with the NY Times critics who are losing their shit over this place. It’s just above average.
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:
Duck Trio: fried duck confit, breast, crispy skin and foie. More like duck four ways I guess. Blood orange gastrique with cherry puree and candied ginger.
Wagyu NY Strip Steak: black garlic, Korean sea salt, green chili puree and citrus cho ganjang (vinegar soy sauce). 7/10. This was a bit leaner than I expected from wagyu. The flavor was nice, but I’ve had much better prime strips at half the price (this will run you $80).
This steak came with roasted fingerling potatoes:
This place is pretty good. I’m not sure I’d hoof it all the way out to Brooklyn for a second visit, but the tartare, seafood pancake, tteok & cheese and duck dishes were all fantastic.
300 Schermerhorn St
Brooklyn, NY 11217