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Best new Gallic charmer: Buvette

The French have had a good run lately in New York: dominating nightlife (Le Baron), the box office (The Artist) and the party-brunch scene (Beaumarchais)....

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Photograph: Daniel Krieger

Buvette

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Photograph: Daniel Krieger

Brandade at Buvette

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Photograph: Daniel Krieger

Coq au vin at Buvette

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Photograph: Daniel Krieger

Goose and pork-butt rillettes at Buvette

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Photograph: Daniel Krieger

Tarte Tatin at Buvette

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Photograph: Daniel Krieger

Steak tartare at Buvette

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Photograph: Daniel Krieger

Buvette

The French have had a good run lately in New York: dominating nightlife (Le Baron), the box office (The Artist) and the party-brunch scene (Beaumarchais). Even former Italophile (and Mario Batali acolyte) Jody Williams has fallen under the Gallic spell, trading in Chianti and arancini for Côtes du Rhône and brandade at her diminutive West Village “gastroteque,” Buvette. In this dollhouse setting, Williams made a compelling case for reviving old-fashioned French country cooking. Her immaculate renditions of coq au vin, goose-fat rillettes or intense, lacquered wedges of tarte Tatin arrived on tiny plates, in petite jars or in miniature casseroles, her time-warp flavors recalling an era when there were still classic bistros on every corner. Amid an artful clutter of antiques and ingredients arranged in precious still lifes, it added up to the year’s most enchanting new restaurant. 42 Grove St between Bedford and Bleecker Sts (212-255-3590, ilovebuvette.com)

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