||[Jun. 16th, 2008|12:09 pm]
New York - New Jersey Cuisine
I’m not sure what it is with French restaurants lately. First Les Halles a couple of weeks agao, and then yesterday afternoon (Father’s Day), I got to try L’Absinthe Brasserie-Restaurant on E 67th between 1st and 2nd. I had never heard of the place, but apparently, my father eats here often. He described it to me as a bit of Paris dropped into Manhattan. I’ve never been to France, so I had to take his word for it. But based on what I’ve seen on TV and movies, the atmosphere and décor of L’Absinthe really give the restaurant a Parisian look and feel. |
The inside is very nice, fancy, but not too fancy. I really like the lighting (slightly dim, but not excessively so) and the ambiance. I felt comfortable in my khakis and polo-style shirt. I don’t know if I’d feel as comfortable here as I did at Les Halles, which felt like it had a little bit more of a relaxed atmosphere, but I didn’t feel underdressed. Also, it was Father’s Day, so people may have gone a little dressier than normal. And I did see a few people dressed very casually, so I don’t think this is a place where you have to be too concerned about attire.
The food was all excellent, starting with the bread and butter. I feel as if that comes up often in my posts here, but I love good fresh bread. They serve a cut of French bread (with seconds if you ask) and I couldn’t keep away from it.
For an appetizer we split the Alsacienne Pizzette, a very thin, personal size pizza made with bacon, onion, thyme, and muenster cheese. I snatched up about 3 slices of that thing and I definitely recommend it if you’re looking for an appetizer suggestion that’s not on the appetizer list.
For my entrée, I ordered the Papillote of Loch Duart Salmon. This is two small, thick cuts of salmon cooked medium-rare in a phillo dough crust. The tenderness of the salmon mixes very well with the crispiness of the dough, and I really enjoyed this meal. Someone we were with got the same thing cooked well done and he enjoyed it just as much.
I also had a taste of my father’s meal, though I’m not sure what it was called. It was basically a thin layer of French bread with ham, egg, and cheese pressed kind of like a Panini. It was kind of a cross between a Monte Cristo and a Panini, and it was damn good. It probably had enough egg, cheese and butter to kill a lab rat, but you probably wouldn’t care.
Dessert was a tasty pastry that consisted of a dough filled with hazelnut cream. Good stuff, and not disgustingly rich if you like something a little lighter at the end of your meal.
The only thing that I wasn’t completely happy with was the wine. It wasn’t bad, but for the price you pay for a glass of wine at a restaurant like this, “not bad” shouldn’t be the verdict. But they do have quite a large selection of wine, so I’m sure that another selection might have been better.
Also, according to my father, they do serve absinthe and they serve it the old-fashioned way with the sugar cube and absinthe spoon. I didn’t see it on the menu anywhere, but he told me that he’s seen people drinking it there before. And really, when you name your place L’Absinthe, I think you’d kind of have to, right? I’m going to make it a point to give that a try, should I make it back there at some point.
Overall, it was a very good meal. If you haven’t looked at the menu yet, I’ll mention that the prices are a little high. I’d say you should expect to spend around $45 – 50 per person, depending upon your appetites, but I’ve paid as much for less satisfying meals before. At least at L’Absinthe, for a short time, you get the added fun of feeling as if you’ve escaped to a place where you feel like you should be contemplating writing the great American novel instead of what time you have to get up for work tomorrow.
(Menus are on their website)
Note: There is a parking garage directly across the street from the restaurant. On a Sunday afternoon, it only cost us $13 for 2 hours or so. I’m sure Friday and Saturday rates are higher though.