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Gavroche


Brad Trent
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Has anybody tried Gavroche (Philippe Roussel from Chelsea Bistro/Park Bistro/Montparnasse)...it's in my neighborhood and for the time being (until they get their license) it's BYO.

BeeT's

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Hey Brad,

Since it's in your hood, why don't you scoot over there for a meal and be the first person to report on it. The BYOB is a great opportunity to bring a good bottle of wine.

NYMetro recently announced the opening. The kitchen is rustic-French. The chef, Phillipe Roussel trained with the great Jean Troisgros and Michel Guérard.

Gavroche

212 West 14th Street

212-647-8553

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Yeah...I've got a rez for next Wednesday but I wuz wonderin' if anybody had any thoughts.

As for the BYO, yes, that's another reason I wanted to try it 'cuz I need all the BYO's I can find...

A few shots of my cellar...

BeeT's

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Yeah...I've got a rez for next Wednesday but I wuz wonderin' if anybody had any thoughts.

As for the BYO, yes, that's another reason I wanted to try it 'cuz I need all the BYO's I can find...

A few shots of my cellar...

BeeT's

Oh my. I assume these bottles are located in your country manor. When will you be hosting an eG tasting? :biggrin:

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Country manor?!! No...I have a REALLY big cellar that leaves no room for an apartment!

Actually, yes...the cellar sits in Connecticut. I suppose I could be humble and say that it's not really as big as it looks (the miracle of wide angle lenses) but it does hold about 2000 bottles. As for when the egulleters will be invited to help drain a portion...between the wine board geeks and the few foodie geeks I know from the board I seem to have already begun the emptying process!

BeeT's drinklots.gif

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OK...so me and two wine geeks take advantage of the zero-corkage policy at Gavroche last night. I made an 8:00PM reservation, and we all arrived shortly before 8:00...to a completely empty restaurant! And was it ever HOT in there...like 80+ degrees hot! I assumed that they were having air conditioning problems until the manager, Camillia Cassin, looked up from the bar and asked, "Did you bring wine?"...she then led us down the rear passageway to the garden, where everybody was dining! It was quite nice back there and at least 10 degrees cooler. And larger than I would have expected as well...the well-spaced tables surround a fountain that is in the center of the area and a wall of ivy towers 5 stories over the entire area. Of course however, there were no tables available so we had to retreat back to the main dining room to wait. The 5 minutes we were told it would be turned into half an hour but we were finally led back to a table. Then we waited for another ten minutes before a busboy brought us a basket of bread. No waiter appeared so we went about opening our own wine. Eventually a waitress showed up and gave us the evenings specials (that included a variation on the $9.00 wild mushroom ravioli in truffle oil appetizer...the special had shaved "summer" truffles instead. Of course I ordered it but was pretty surprised when the bill came and saw it was fully DOUBLE the price! Note to waitstaff: SPEAK UP ABOUT PRICING ON THOSE HIGHER-THAN-NORMAL PRICED SPECIALS!!!) Anyway, we ordered and requested water and red wine glasses...then we waited some more. After grabbing a busboy we managed to get water, and on the third try the red wine glasses appeared.

I ordered the aforementioned ravioli appetizer which was excellent, if maybe the portion was a bit small. The mushrooms and truffles were a very good match and it was actually a nice, light start. The geeks shared the charcuterie plate of meats, duck terrine, mustards and sauces and liked it just fine. I'm not the one to comment on it though...not that I don't like that sort of thing 'cuz I actually eat like that at home, it's just that I never feel it's really anything to get all jazzed about when I go out for dinner.

I had the $24.00 "rack" of lamb which turned out to be 3 smallish rib chops. If you're on the South Beach diet I guess this place might be perfect for you. They were fine but certainly pricey for the portion size. The accompanying roasted tomatoes and goat cheese over spinach was excellent. Geek #2 had the same but felt his lamb was too rare but he also loved the tomato dish. Geek #3 had the $18.00 steak-frites, a skirt steak in a peppercorn sauce that was fine, but I thought the frites were not nearly crisp enough. Tatrine is only a few blocks South and everyone knows how damn good their fries are!

Myself and Geek #3 ordered dessert and coffee, but only my (very average) apple tart and vanilla ice cream showed up. I begged a coffee off of a busboy but by that time Geek #3 had bailed on his dessert. No refills were offered on the coffee...and we were off.

Not hardly a rave review and it's too bad because the food is actually quite solid for what is is and the garden atmosphere is great, especially on a night like last night where it was nice to be outside and enjoy the breeze. The waitstaff, however, needs to seriously get in gear!

I've got a rez for next Wednesday that I still may keep to give them a second chance...that says a lot, but they only get one second chance! I'll report back then...

And for God's sake...turn on the A/C!!!

BeeT's

PS: Oops! What kinda wine geek am I without adding tasting notes?!! Asher (Wine Geek #2) has provided the following...

2001 Donhoff Oberhauser Leistenberg Riesling Kabinett: Damn nice. Limes, slate, white fruit, vibrant acidity, echoes of flavor on the finish. Delish.

1996 Arrowood Reserve Cab: Had to be iced down because the alcohol was showing too much at room temp. Tannins are softening. Typical Cab fruit, starting to mellow with age but still solid. Oak is present, especially the vanilla notes, but is also mellowing. Overall, a good wine but not worth the money.

1985 Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou: Started off musty, and we wondered whether it would blow off. It didn't. Corked.

1999 Martinelli Gewurtz, Martinelli Vineyard: Brad and Spencer both thought it tasted older than it really was. I found it to still be youthful, especially the palate that was dominated by lychees. But the wine comes across as flabby because of the low acidity. The 14.3% alcohol at times seems well-concealed and at other times, like on the finish, really packs a whallop.

Edited by Brad Trent (log)
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  • 2 months later...
The strength of a relatively unadorned rack of lamb, which came with a delectable timbale of goat cheese and baby spinach, was the meat itself and the kitchen's adherence to my guest's request for medium-rare. The sparingly applied raspberry sauce on a seared duck breast ceded center stage to the duck itself, and rightly so. The flesh was beautifully cooked and flawlessly tender.
Its real shortcoming — as much a limitation as a flaw — is that it does a great many things without any particular distinction. Dishes that fall into this lukewarm category include the sautéed frog legs, the duck terrine, the warm roasted tomato tart, the salmon steak and several desserts, including a cheesecake and a mixed fruit tart.

Gavroche (Frank Bruni)

A more substantial review from Mr. Bruni.

Thoughts? Reactions? Any recent experiences?

Soba

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I love Gavroche. I have from my first visit right after they opened and many, many times since. While I find Mr. Bruni a weak reviewer, I am glad he has seen fit to elevate this little gem to the ranks of the big boys by giving it a serious review.

The food is terrific. The setting charming. Prices good.

While service is spotty (sometimes seriously so) it has always been well meaning and I never fail to feel they are truly happy I dined there. I only hope the one star is not taken as a sign of weakness but is understood that this restaurant is good enough to be held to the same standards as those who have far more resources, better press contacts and bigger names.

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I fully agree about the waitstaff. We asked for our red wine to be decanted and the waiter just looked at us. Finally after explaining what decanting meant, we were able to get through to him.

We also sat in the back garden, which is very nice. We were originally supposed to have a table inside because all the back tables were reserved. But the owner (?) said to give us a small table in the back because the reservation for it was way past due.

Food was good, but not spectacular. I'd go back there, but I don't want to have the same waiter.

Mary

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I think the 1 star rating is probably fair...I've only been back once since my first dinner there (after they got their liquor license) and my experience was about the same. For me, the one big problem with the place is the service! On my second visit I still had to beg for water, bread and a menu! And after we finally got the menus it took about 15 minutes before we saw the waiter! It doesn't take an adult 15 minutes to go over a bistro menu!

The food is fine...c'mon, it's a bistro and that's how Bruni reviewed it. He wasn't expecting haut cuisine, but honestly, there are a lot of similar places I would rush to if I have a hankering for this kind of food but I really would have like to have been more moved by this place...it's only a couple of blocks from my apartment!

Bruni did mention one thing that the wine-geek in me also noticed. The wine list is pretty thin on decent, affordable wines. I don't know many people that will pay the seriously high tarif for the better wines on their list when this place is, after all, a bistro. They either need to add another 5-10 bottles of more reasonably priced wines or lower their corkage (which they made $20 after they got their liquor license!) if they intend to get people (read: wine geeks) to come back. Most of the wine that I would want to try hovers around triple retail and I just can't justify that kind of money for this place.

BeeT's

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I ate their for Bastille Day on their prix fixe menu. Granted, it was PF, but I LOVED the food--the garlicky, parsleyed sauce for the escargot was fantastic with their bread. The coq au vin was awesome as well (lots of dark meat, I think), and the service was perfect.

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  • 2 months later...

1st VOTE, - then go to Restaurent Gavroche on W14th, just west of 7th ave. this is about as close as one can get to a authentic French restaurant in NYC! the chef co-owner is French, the other co-owner is French & wonderful. the employees are mostly French, & the bartender is French, the vin carte is French!

Philippe Roussel has a long successful pedigree at a number of Manhattan restaurants. these 2 weeks are devoted to a Burgundy Festival where Chef Roussel has imported his father, a Commandeur in the Chevalier Tastevin, to prepare a special prix fixe bourgogne menu. i have been to the restaurant on a number of occassions & have always been treated & fed "tres bien".

i am NOT associated with the restaurant in any way. only that when i find the type of restaurant i look for, i tend to become an advocate. would be interested in other opinions.

bon appetit!

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i'm somewhat surprised @ the lack of responses from egullet's NYC francophiles?? i know Gavroche is not in the Meatpacking District, nor SoHo, nor TriBeCa, nor the E. Village, but W14th is on the border of Chelsea, an excellent jumping off area if one wants - what am i missing??

Edited by jgould (log)
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i'm somewhat surprised @ the lack of responses from egullet's NYC francophiles?? i know Gavroche is not in the Meatpacking District, nor SoHo, nor TriBeCa, nor the E. Village, but  W14th is on the border of Chelsea, an excellent jumping off area if one wants - what am i missing??

I actually just got home from dinner at Gavroche... It was the fourth or fifth time that I ate there in recent months. The comments above concerning the food and the service are right on the mark, even though service was a bit tighter tonight. But regardless of how spotty it might have been in the past, I still always had a very enjoyable time there. I find it very relaxing actually, to not be rushed about anything! I love that place too and really hope that it succeeds because it's quickly become one of my favorite low-key restaurants. The garden this summer was a very economical way to make a quick trip to France, as it really made you forget you were in NY.

Tonight I had the Burgundy tasting menu, with the escargot millefeuille, pochoune (or at least I think that was the name of the fish) and lemon tart. The millefeuille, in a red wine and mushroom sauce, had a great contrast of textures and was full of flavors--a rich dish but not so much that I couldn't enjoy the entree. The fish was cooked a minute too long, but the butter & cream sauce and great side of herbed rice still made for a pleasant dish. The lemon tart had a mousse texture with distinct bites of lemon zest. Very enjoyable, and a nice light finishing touch to a delightful meal. My husband started with a salade paysanne with goat cheese, and then duck three ways, which he absolutely loved. The duck (I didn't pay close attention to what the three ways were) was served with mashed potatoes, braised cabbage and pan-fried foie gras. A wonderful dish, much less heavy than I expected. His dessert was the night's special, an apricot and almond tart with vanilla ice cream, served warm. Very soft texture, with enough of an apricot taste to make you forget they're no longer in season! Not a crumb was left on his plate.

Anne E. McBride

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Headed to Gavroche tonight.

What's their wine policy these days? Still OK to BYOW?

You shouldn't eat grouse and woodcock, venison, a quail and dove pate, abalone and oysters, caviar, calf sweetbreads, kidneys, liver, and ducks all during the same week with several cases of wine. That's a health tip.

Jim Harrison from "Off to the Side"

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Headed to Gavroche tonight.

What's their wine policy these days?  Still OK to BYOW?

they have their liquor license, & i believe they also have a corkage fee, although not sure; therefore, you should call ahead to check. enjoy! i went last night & had their Burgundy Festival prix fixe - excellent!

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Thanks. Very excited for the meal tonight. Will avail myself of their wine list.

You shouldn't eat grouse and woodcock, venison, a quail and dove pate, abalone and oysters, caviar, calf sweetbreads, kidneys, liver, and ducks all during the same week with several cases of wine. That's a health tip.

Jim Harrison from "Off to the Side"

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Well, the wine was nice. Wish I could say that about the dinner. It wasn't awful. Nice pork terrine. But snails, duck, skate wing, all I think were not as good as they had ought to have been. All in all a disappointing experience. We may try again.

You shouldn't eat grouse and woodcock, venison, a quail and dove pate, abalone and oysters, caviar, calf sweetbreads, kidneys, liver, and ducks all during the same week with several cases of wine. That's a health tip.

Jim Harrison from "Off to the Side"

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  • 2 weeks later...
Well, the wine was nice.  Wish I could say that about the dinner.  It wasn't awful.  Nice pork terrine.  But snails, duck, skate wing, all I think were not as good as they had ought to have been.  All in all a disappointing experience.  We may try again.

sorry to hear you had an "average" meal. do you believe it was the norm, or an exception?

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Well, the wine was nice.  Wish I could say that about the dinner.  It wasn't awful.  Nice pork terrine.  But snails, duck, skate wing, all I think were not as good as they had ought to have been.  All in all a disappointing experience.  We may try again.

sorry to hear you had an "average" meal. do you believe it was the norm, or an exception?

We had dinner at Gavroche during the summer and, considering that we were familiar with Chef Roussel's cooking from his stint at Park Bistro, I, too, found the meal disappointing. In particular, my main course duck (magret) was tough, and the sides -- mashed potatoes and a very few mixed vegetables -- were mediocre. However, I had a taste of my husband's rack of lamb, and it was quite good, as was the potato gratin accompaniment. So, it appears that there is inconsistency in the quality of the cuisine. :sad: When we left the restaurant, I commented to my husband that I wouldn't be rushing back since there are good French bistros more conveniently located for us. Plus, if I want a French bistro with a charming back garden and consistently excellent food, Gascogne would be my first choice. :wub:

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sorry to hear you had an "average" meal. do you believe it was the norm, or an exception?

I've only been just this time so I'm really not qualified to say. I'd be suprised if Bruni who reviewed the restaurant favorably could eat what we did and then write the things he wrote.

You shouldn't eat grouse and woodcock, venison, a quail and dove pate, abalone and oysters, caviar, calf sweetbreads, kidneys, liver, and ducks all during the same week with several cases of wine. That's a health tip.

Jim Harrison from "Off to the Side"

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"if I want a French bistro with a charming back garden and consistently excellent food, Gascogne would be my first choice"

actually, thats interesting. i think Gascogne is not very good. so, to each his/her own.

Edited by jgould (log)
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  • 3 weeks later...

This just in...

Galette des Rois is a traditional French dessert that is enjoyed every year on the day of Epiphany (January 6). This delicious golden pie encases an almond cream filling (frangipane) and hidden somewhere within, a china figurine (la fève). This small prize object is placed randomly inside the cake by the baker before it goes into the oven. In the old days that object was a dry white bean, hence the name fève, which in French means fava bean. The person who finds the fève in their slice of cake becomes King or Queen for the day, and is entitled to wear the paper crown that comes with the cake.

Source: Teuwen One Image

Chef Roussel will serve his version of Galette des Rois from 3 January 2005 to 9 January 2005, during "the week of Epiphany." Seven fifty per slice; whole cakes are $42 and serve six.

JJ Goode

Co-author of Serious Barbecue, which is in stores now!

www.jjgoode.com

"For those of you following along, JJ is one of these hummingbird-metabolism types. He weighs something like eleven pounds but he can eat more than me and Jason put together..." -Fat Guy

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