Paris via New York: Boucherie Restaurant in West Village

From regular contributor Betty Guernsey:

Bonnes nouvelles!!! New York has a brand new restaurant in the grand tradition of Maxim’s – Boucherie, the latest venture of former chef de cuisine of the late-lamented Pastis in the Meatpacking district.

Set on a popular stretch of the West Village, with a jaunty red awning, Boucherie is true to its name, catering to lovers of le bifsteak – it even has a sit-in beef counter where aficionados can see their orders grilled to perfection over a wood fire – though its menu extends to rabbit, racks of venison and lamb, duck and poulet, in addition to trout and salmon.

Everything is elegant and beautifully presented, from the Salade Niçoise and Scallops Saint-Jacques to the truly delectable Crêpes Suzette.

Multi-level, spacious and airy, with marble-topped tables, potted palms, fin-de-siècle art on the walls, a zinc bar that must be 40 feet long, a well-considered list of wines and anisettes, and French music playing unobtrusively in the background (have you ever heard “Dancing Cheek to Cheek” sung in French?) — one would not be surprised to see Manet, Lautrec, or (dare we say it — Louis Jourdan), sitting quietly in a corner, with a platter of escargots.

99 Seventh Avenue South, near the corner of Grove.

Merci mille fois, Betty!

Paris via New York: A Tale of Two Pâtisseries

From frequent contributor Betty Guernsey:

Pâtisserie Claude, at 187 West 4th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues in the West Village, is one of those very few, tiny places that has become almost extinct in Manhattan, vanquished due to gentrification and escalating rents. There’s nothing fancy about the place: four marble-topped tables, mismatched chairs, blaring radio, photos (including one of Claude) hanging slightly askew on the wall – but the secret of its success are its fresh-from-the-oven croissants (tender and flaky, though not necessarily buttery), brioches, quiches, éclairs – no breads here – the pride of display going to daily fresh-baked tartes (apple, pear, apricot, hazelnut).

Wonderfully old school, beloved in the neighborhood with its obvious regulars, Claude has clung to its location for years – the original owner, now retired, handed down his cherished recipes to his successor, who carries on from 8 am to 8 pm daily but for Sunday, when he closes at 7 pm.

At the other end of the spectrum, a mere hop, skip, and jump away at 137 7th Avenue South between 10th Street and Charles, is Dominique Ansel Kitchen, its lavender/white décor smacking of Parisian sophistication. Ansel, former pastry chef for Daniel Boulud, is a master of concoction, his fabulous croissants and pastries resembling mad hats designed by Schiaparelli — and his savories, works of culinary art.

Outstanding — his chilled heirloom tomato gazpacho, curvy shell-like garlic croissants, ruffly prosciutto-boursin crossantwich, and truffled crème fraîche cheesecake, all unlike any you’ve ever tasted. The menu, altered seasonally, is served from 9 am to 9 pm every day. Perhaps best of all, the Kitchen has a lovely outdoor terrace, welcoming on a warm spring day, a small but select choice of wines and beers, and for summer, their own ice cream.

Paris via New York, Delice & Sarrasin

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Regular contributor Betty Guernsey says these crêpes are the most authentically French she’s come across in Manhattan. Merci, Betty!

A welcome new addition to the Manhattan dining scene is Délice & Sarrasin, a crêperie and patisserie located at 20 Christopher Street (between 6th and 7th Avenues) in the West Village.

Barely larger than a postage stamp, but very French in ambiance, it was opened about six months ago by a family from Toulouse, serving their own original galettes (savory crêpes made with sarrasin, a buckwheat flour), and crêpes (sweet or dessert crêpes, made with pâte au froment or plain wheat flour) — the fillings perhaps more creative than traditional, more in the style of Toulouse than Bretagne.

Very authentic, however, is the slightly alcoholic cider served in cups (and specially imported from France), and their Crêpe Suzette, which is no less than superbe.

Paris Via New York—Buvette

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A new cookbook and 2 great restaurants, all from regular contributor, Betty Guernsey.

Back in 2011, one of Manhattan’s most gifted chefs, Jody Williams, opened a gastrothèque called Buvette at 42 Grove Street in the West Village, an all-day, no-reservations boîte based on the concept of a Parisian wine bar, serving accompanying delectable bite-sized plats that varied by the time of day and the season.

In an exciting non-traditional about-face, she has just brought a branch to Paris – to the 9ème arrondissement, at 28 rue Henri-Monnier in South Pigalle, where it’s fast becoming a succès fou.

At the same time, she’s written a gorgeous new cookbook, “Buvette: The Pleasures of Good Food” — like her restaurants in both cities, divided into morning, afternoon, and evening — reflecting her simple yet highly sophisticated philosophy of thinking small and using only the freshest, finest ingredients. (Book now available in bookstores and at amazon.com).

Merci, Betty!