I gave my husband 17 choices in the $300-$350 budget range (including $100 for drinks) for our 12th anniversary, and he chose Frenchette. Several of our “natural wine” contacts had recommended the restaurant for its extensive and interesting list. The 14-day window for making reservations began on the day we were cheering on our friends in the NYC Triathalon, so there was only a 10:30 pm timeslot left by the time we remembered to check the Resy app. We decided to stop by the restaurant to beg, and the host was gracious enough to grant us a 6:30 pm reservation.
As the time drew near for our dinner, our perusal of several reviews had worked us up into a frenzy about what to order – we wanted everything. Ultimately, we decided on the Sardines Marinées from the Amuses section, the Fluke Tartare and Brouillade from the Appetizers, and Duck Frites and Calf’s Liver for our Entrees. The sardines and fluke were an enjoyable opening. I especially liked the salty moments that presumably came from the sea beans in the fluke. As a lover of all things liver, I thought the calf’s liver was seasoned and cooked delicately, and the combination of mashed peas with a few crunchy pieces still in the pod made for an appetizing plate. We enjoyed the crispness the chef was able to achieve with the skin on the duck and the fries, but the dish was not overly memorable.
The real standouts of the meal were the wine, the bread (chewy and tart with salted butter), and the brouillade. I’ve never had anything quite like this egg dish, which must take a great amount of skill and butter to attain the polenta-like savoury perfection. You can never go wrong with a topping of tiny escargots and garlic butter. Also, the last-minute decision to order the strawberry pavlova turned out to be a winner. Fresh berries surrounded creamy and crackling meringue with a touch of salt for a light and delicious end to the meal. The kitchen even added a candle to celebrate our special occasion.
For drinks, we started with the two sparkling wines by the glass – one a full-bodied dry rośe and the other a funky, unfiltered biodynamic – both charming and perfect to cleanse the palate. The sommelier’s recommendation on a bottle to pair with our varied dishes was spot on. From the Bugey region in France, the La Vigne du Perron La Combe Aux Reves L’Eveil Du Loup 2015 was light enough to match the appetizers while also standing up to the carnivorous main dishes. It is one of the most balanced natural wines we have tasted, and I’m looking forward to trying more from this region.
Thanks to Frenchette for a lovely anniversary experience.