Saturday, April 15, 2006


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Brasserie Julien [1422 Third Ave. (bet. 80th and 81st Sts.) 212-744-6327]
A wonderfully romantic French bistro. All the standard French dishes are offered, in addition to some specials based on what is fresh. I enjoyed the rack of lamb with a crab cake appetizer, while my beautiful date had a special scallop dish. The brasserie also has an extensive beer selection, and I drank a bottle of Kwak from Belgium. The prices are a little high, and the tables are a little tight, but that just makes things more intimate (tables, not prices).

Crepes on Columbus [990 Columbus Ave. (bet. 108th and 109th Sts.) 212-222-0259]
Delicious food, although the decor is simple and lower-end. I enjoyed a splendid meal here, chowing down on one savory crepe (with grilled chicken, avocado, and swiss cheese) and one sweet crepe (with Nutella, bananas, and strawberries). I was very full for not that much money. My friend had an excellent roast beef sandwich and it appears as if they cook everything well here. And while it is a decent sit-down dinner option, I would say that the restaurant is best suited for brunch, lunch, or delivery. If I lived in the neighborhood I would probably order from here at least twice a week, maybe more.

Crooked Tree Creperie [110 St. Mark's Place (bet. 1st Ave. and Ave. A) 212-533-3299]
An adorable little place in which to enjoy crepes, salads, and sandwiches. And you should definitely have some wine or sangria while you're there. I tried my crepe with the old reliable combination of Nutella and bananas. It was a great dessert and the restaurant did a good job of making me feel like I was away from the madness that can be New York. Prices are reasonable.

Django [480 Lexington Ave. (at 46th St.) 212-871-6600]
Fantastic French fare is on offer at this beautiful midtown restaurant. A great place to take a client (or to be taken out by a client), I recommend the prix fixe for lunch. Eat upstairs in the luxurious main dining room if you can, or rent out the special tent for an event. The food is extremely rich and filling, but that also means it tastes good. I had soup and fish as my meal and enjoyed every bite.

JoJo [160 E. 64th St. (bet. 3rd and Lexington Aves.) 212-223-5656]
Located in a beautiful converted townhouse, this elegant Jean-Georges resturant serves up splendid French fusion cuisine. The setting is superb and the seemingly simple menu (main courses are named Chicken, Duck, Lamb, etc... although they rotate) belies a high level of creativity in the dishes. For starters, I recommend the Soft Shell Crab or the Warm Asparagus Salad, depending on which way your tastes tend to lead you. I chose the crab, and could not have been more satisfied. For an entree, I chose the Duck and again was very pleased with my selection. The fowl was tender and delicious, with a wonderful sauce to complement it. But if you prefer chicken, fish, or any other meat, I have a feeling that you will be equally happy. Finish things off with the Warm Valrhona Cake. Trust me.

L'Absinthe [227 E. 67th St. (bet. 2nd and 3rd Aves.) 212-794-4950]
Absolutely outstanding French food in an authentic brasserie setting. Certainly an expensive treat, L'Absinthe is worth the money. My favorite dish is the rack of lamb, but you can't really go wrong here. A nice date spot for the well-heeled. A nice parents-take-you-out spot for the not-so-well-heeled.

Le Perigord [405 E. 52nd St. (at 1st Ave.) 212-755-6244]
To put it simply: go during Restaurant Week. The food is good, but not worth the normal $62 prix fixe rate. On the plus side, however, my family and I were greeted by a friendly French maitre d' who complimented me on the quality of my spoken French. As for food, the Butternut Squash soup was especially delicious (and the baguettes were some of the better this side of the Atlantic). The chicken was a little dry, but I have a preference for dark meat. The salmon was better. Finally, dessert was typically rich.

Rue 57 [60 W. 57th St. (at 6th Ave.) 212-307-5656]
Overpriced and overcrowded, Rue 57 is not the ideal place to go for brunch. BUT the restaurant does offer some delicious banana pancakes and a beautiful brasserie setting. Oddly enough, they also offer a full sushi bar. So if you know what you are getting into, you will probably enjoy yourself, but don't make it a regular thing.

Sel et Poivre [853 Lexington Ave. (bet. 64th and 65th Sts.) 212-517-5780]
This cozy French bistro serves up a tasty, traditional menu at reasonable prices. The best time to go is actually on a Friday or Saturday night when you can enjoy steak frites or any chicken dish on the menu for only $12.95. Bon appetit!