Visiting NYC for me is always one of utter frustration with the traffic, crowds, protests and parades and one of total joy and childlike excitement for new experiences.
I was in NYC this past week for work and decided to stay for the weekend with some friends. Planning is taken out of my hands, which is a refreshing change and put into the very capable ones of Stacey (my traveling friend) and her husband Eric.
Our Saturday started with a walking tour of the Chelsea Galleries where I spent my time jaw dropped with both amazement and disbelief of wow this artist blows my mind with their talent to wow is that really art? Either way, it’s always a day of great fun and adventure. The evening was for myself and Stacey to dine at Dirty French.
Located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan on the ground floor of the Ludlow Hotel, Dirty French welcomes its diners and winers through a pink neon-sign lit doorway into a colorfully burlesque-feel bistro establishment.
The restaurant and bar(s) are in three separate locations. The main bar and dining room, the lounge sofa seating area with a fireplace and an exposed brick courtyard at the back of the hotel. We were seated in a small booth in the bar area, which was absolutely perfect for people watching entertainment and self-deprecation due to the six-foot legged model women adorning their bar area during New York’s fashion week. It was really not good for my self-esteem! The only thing to do was eat, drink and have a hugely enjoyable evening.
The menu is classic bistro-style French with some dish curve balls thrown in where you least expect it. Thai seems to be playing a role in some of their dishes.
The cocktail menu which looks fab but didn’t wholly appeal to us at that moment in time – lots of whisky, bourbon and tequila creations. Instead we started with a waiter recommended bone-dry sparkling rosé, which turned out to be a great menu pondering drink, especially while tasting their complimentary herby and soft hot flatbread with a rave-worthy mousse-like fromage blanc.
Appetizers of lamb carpaccio, crab with artichoke, ahi tuna tartare and grilled oysters share the Hors d’Oeuvre part of the menu. We ordered the Barigoule a sweet crab meat salad showered in light citrusy dressing and accompanied by bites of artichoke. AMAZing for something so simple. I was reluctant to swap this dish halfway through as is Stacey’s and my thing.
We also ordered the tuna tartare, a super biting chili blessed ahi tuna overlaid with a giant crepe. While we loved the tuna, we didn’t love the crepe as it was a little too oily. It didn’t matter the dish had the freshest mint leaves, which combined with the tuna was an engagement of pure taste delight.
Skipping a salad course as the Berigoule proved worthy of both the starter and salad we moved on to our entrées of Black Bass and Brook Trout.
Prettily presented the black bass a slightly fishy and super tasty oily fish, which is layered with sweet cherry tomatoes and sungold.
Again, swapping halfway through our dishes I dug into the expanse of the black trout, which consumed the white traditional French plate. It tasted like it had some sort of miso broth over it but I can’t be 100% sure. Both Stacey and I agree it was fantastic!
We paired our entrées with crispy, salty frites and a side of French green beans (Haricots Asiatique).
None of the desserts piqued our interest, instead we continued to sip on our Domaine Vacheron ‘Chambrates” Sancerre 2013, the perfect companion to our seafood dining and post dinner enjoyment.
The vibe is loud and fun and definitely created for a great night out rather than a quiet dinner in the corner of a romantic bistro.
Side note. Picture quality is not great due to the dark lighting of the restaurant.