French cuisine is the bedrock upon which most culinary pursuits are based—at least in the fine dining world. But bistro-style eateries are where most of us would dine on a regular basis, when the mood for Steak Frites and good red wine calls. The city has enjoyed quite a few French newcomers in recent months; here are a few of them.
LA GAULOISE This very cute, very French little bistro took over part of its sister restaurant Clarkson, transforming a zebra-themed dining room into an antiques-strewn eatery serving French classics. Here you'll find Steak Frites, Escargots, Frisee aux Lardons and even "Thighs of Nymphs," also known as frog's legs. There's a lot of butter, copious wine and even a vintage foosball table sourced from France's Braderie de Lille flea market. Update: La Gauloise has closed.
2 Clarkson Street, West Village, 212-675-5535; website
Bone Marrow at Pardon My French
PARDON MY FRENCH Though technically a reboot of the Casimir family, this clubby little spot offers a contemporary version of the bistro-style restaurant that pulls flavors from France and its influences across the globe. Think roasted lamb shoulder with rosemary, creole-style cod fritters and roasted bone marrow served with baguette. Though it boasts all the aesthetic hallmarks of a quiet neighborhood spot, the speakeasy-style bar and "deep house music" make it better suited for a sexy date than dinner with your parents.
103 Avenue B, 212-358-9683; website
Steak Tartare with frites at La Gamelle (Scott Lynch/Gothamist)
LA GAMELLE Motorino's Mathieu Palombino's new Bowery brasserie joins a few other Francophile spots in the area, bringing with it a relaxed environment in which to enjoy reasonably-priced French specialties. La Gamelle's charcuterie has been very well-received; Quick Bites columnist Scott Lynch also loves the Oeuefs Mayonaise, Asparagus Mousseline and Spring Leeks and Ham. Lynch concludes: "If you want a good meal, don't want to spend a fortune, and are not in the mood to deal with the usual lower-Bowery scene, La Gamelle could become your new neighborhood go-to."
241 Bowery, 212-388-0052; website
L'ANTAGONISTE Over in Bed-Stuy, Le Philosophe owner Amadeus Broger opened this small, sun-drenched eatery serving super traditional dishes like Pate en Croute Maison, Canard a L'Orange, Steak Frites and Blanquette de Veau. You may need to ask for translations from your server, as none of the menu items are listed in English. Also of note: the insane wine list, which includes a bottle of Bordeaux for $2,000.
238 Malcolm X Boulevard, Bed-Stuy, 917-966-5300; website
Duck Breast with endive, orange and smoked almond at Rebelle (Evan Sung)
REBELLE As previously noted, the Bowery has become a mini Paris, thanks also in part to this new spot from the team behind Pearl & Ash. The dishes turned out here aren't going to be as recognizable to regular bisto-goers; think more gourmet and less every day. From the 8-seat chef's table, watch chef Daniel Eddy compose dishes like Duck Breast with endive, orange and smoked almond and Pork with headcheese, violet mustard and mustard greens. Save room for desserts from pastry chef Jessica Yang, like the season-appropriate Rhubarb dish with lemongrass jelly, biscuit and vanilla ice cream.
218 Bowery, 917-639-3880; website