Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Almost "Parfait" at Le Marais

Le Marais is the quintessential French bistro in every sense. The restaurant is boisterous and dimly-lit, serving fantastic food and wine with often spotty service. Taking its name and inspiration from the historical Jewish quarter of Paris, Le Marais successfully recreates this atmosphere right here in New York with a kosher twist.


Upon entering, you’ll pass through an authentic butcher shop featuring a variety of kosher meats, which I take to mean that the meat served is very fresh and of good quality. The dining room walls are covered in dark wood paneling with Parisian advertisements, maps, and antique lampposts scattered throughout.


While other menu items like coq au vin, roasted salmon, and merguez with couscous were tempting, my friend JK knew having a steak in a steakhouse was a must! There are a dozen different cuts to choose from, and he ordered the steak au poivre et frites. This black pepper-crusted tournedo was very lean, cooked well, and was so flavorful…what he (and many others) consider one of the best kosher filets in Manhattan.


I ordered the paillard de poulet et frites, and have to say, as boring as grilled chicken paillard may sound, it was a fantastic choice. Usually with chicken like that, I would ask for a sauce for dipping to add more moisture and taste. But, this chicken was beyond moist and full of flavor.


Also, like any true French bistro, serving fantastic French fries is a necessity – and Le Marais’s light and crispy frites did not disappoint. A small green salad also accompanied both the chicken and steak, rounding out an all-together great entrée. With the large portions, the fries, and the salad, it's a good idea to skip appetizers and save room for the main event!

Le Marais features an extensive wine list with many wines from France, as well as Israel, California, Australia, and others. Although I didn’t have any room left for dessert, the menu looked delicious. Many true French staples are available like crème caramel, tarte aux pommes, and profiteroles.

In fine dining establishments like Le Marais, I always feel that the service should be on par with the food. My only complaint about my experience here was the service - impersonal and extremely rushed.

And finally, a few additional Miss Menu pointers…
• The tables are very cramped and the restaurant becomes extremely noisy during peak dining hours. While this is part of its appeal to some, it may not be ideal for those seeking an intimate, quiet meal.
• The steaks are always cooked one notch higher than you request (i.e. if you prefer your steak medium, order it medium rare; well done, order it medium well).
• Make a reservation in advance when possible. In addition to the usual kosher clientele, Le Marais’s location near Times Square often attracts a number of walk-in tourists, and tables can fill up very quickly.

Le Marais
150 West 46th Street
b/t 6th Avenue and Broadway
website
Menu Pages listing

No comments: