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Carbone owners to debut Dirty French at the Ludlow Hotel early next month

Paul Wagtouicz
Bouillabaisse noire at Dirty French

Since opening their small-but-admired deli on Mulberry Street in 2009, Rich Torrisi, Mario Carbone and Jeff Zalaznick have become rock stars of the pasta set, churning out hit after hit in the form of Torrisi Italian Specialties, Parm and last year’s megawatt Carbone. This year, they’re breaking out of their red-sauced mold. Along with their gritty cocktail lounge, Lobby Bar, the trailblazing trio is unleashing a blockbuster of the French persuasion inside the Ludlow Hotel: Dirty French, a roughed-up brasserie with ostrich-skin banquettes, distressed carnival mirrors and antique brass chandeliers. “We wanted elegance,” Zalaznick says, “but with the rugged nature of the Lower East Side.”

The Gallic turn is less a departure than a return to roots, particularly for the classically trained Torrisi, who staged for Daniel Boulud in France (Le Cinq in Paris, Maison Troisgros in Roanne) before joining the Café Boulud kitchen where he first worked alongside Carbone. “Although we love Italian-American more than anything, we each have creative interests to go much further,” Zalaznick says. “And we’ve always known French would be one of them.”

The restaurant, slated to start seating in early September, is “dirty” in the spirit of a martini: “We’re taking something very pure and adding big, bold flavors,” Zalaznick says. Expanding beyond French borders to draw on Francophonic enclaves—as near as New Orleans, as far as Morocco—the menu features classics like duck à l’orange and lamb l’angee but with that Torrisi twist. Think en brochette duck giblets and hearts lanced across a frisée salad, open-shell oysters presented tableside for inspection and côte de boeuf served two ways: the rib eye first, then the grilled-and-skewered cap. One thing the cuisine swapping proves: Nobody puts the Torrisi crew in a corner. 180 Ludlow St between E Houston and Stanton Sts (212-254-3000, dirtyfrench.com)

Tuna tartare at Dirty FrenchPaul Wagtouicz

Saucisson at Dirty FrenchPaul Wagtouicz

Imperial Planter's Punch at Dirty FrenchPaul Wagtouicz

Dirty FrenchPaul Wagtouicz

Dirty FrenchPaul Wagtouictz

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