Le Périgord Restaurant

Archives: September 2013

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C’est Magnifique!

A tour de force of French fare found in the fabulous borough of Manhattan!
September 26, 2013

(clockwise from top left) La Silhouette; Bistro La Promenade; Le Périgold; La Mangeoire

These divertissements are elegant and wholly satisfying, serving up meals rich with French flair. Bon appétit!
The intimate neighborhood bistro La Mangeoire (1008 Second Ave, 212-759-7086,LaMangeoire.com) has been around for over 35 years, serving up no-nonsense French countryside fare and surprising specials. It feels like a polite invite from a petite French grand-mere asking you to enter her rustic, lantern-lit rooms. Burgundy escargots in a fit of shallots thrill with the perverse inspiration of bright almond butter. Coq au Vin is classically prepared and onion soup features a gorgeous gratinée of chewy Comté and Swiss cheeses broiled to golden deliciousness. Underneath, gently simmered onions and toast skinny-dip at midnight in a broth laced with a flutter of thyme leaves. Our suggestion: relax into the pots de crèmes for dessert.
Bistro La Promenade (461 W 23rd St, 212-255-7400, LaPromenadeNYC.com) brings a glorious touch of color and the breath of the Mediterranean to the western corridor of Chelsea at the hands of terrific toque Alain Allegretti. In particular, we’re quite fond of the gorgeous Provençale fish soup that’s complex and that tastes like a stroll through the air in Marseilles. Leap upon the crispy Provençale-inspired frogs legs, too, when available, in garlic cream with Grecian Kalamata olives. Be sure to wash it all down with a selection from the list of fine wines.
The wine list at La Silhouette (362 W 53rd St, 212-581-2400, La-SilhouetteNYC.com) is also well suited for lovers of the grape. But the food ain’t half bad either! A magnificent poached farm egg rests on a bed of truffled polenta scented with mascarpone cheese, plump oyster mushrooms and a swirl of porcini coulis, which matches nicely with an Alsatian pinot blanc that evokes memories of fresh sugar cookies. Milk-fed lamb chops are great—and go wild for the wild mushroom risotto as a side, knocked out of the park by lots of Parmigiano cheese and a trifle of truffle oil, as well as shaved truffles on top.
A delicious dose of butter prevails at Le Midi (11 E 13th St, 212-255-8787, LeMidiNYC.com), a wonderful bistro just below 14th Street. Escargots are gorgeous—a piping hot, buttery rapture with grilled country bread for sopping up all the garlic and parsley sauce. Duck terrine is an absolute necessity, so light, wrapped in a thin layer of caul fat with traces of cracked black pepper, Armagnac baby greens and accompanying petite cornichons for salt. It is keenly balanced and like a morning walk through country woods. The bistro also boasts a bold bucatini pasta dish with arugula in a bouncy, sweet thyme-flavored tomato sauce.
An upscale, classic French restaurant in a secluded spot in Midtown East is the home of Le Périgord (405 E 52nd St, 212-755-6244, LePerigord.com). Moneyed patrons fill the tables as roasted lobster claws are served, topped with hefty, buttery-soft lobster tails, pale strands of enoki mushrooms and vegetable medleys such as sautéed zucchini, carrots and yellow squash in a coriander-lobster broth that borders on a subtle bisque. In the cooler months, sizeable seared quail is often stuffed with minced wild forest mushrooms that keep the bird, presented in a black truffle sauce, moist. And yes, there are oeufs à la neige, “floating islands” also known as meringue confections, here served with Pollack-inspired sprays of caramel lightly spattered over the top of the dessert.