It’s hard to resist the rustic charm at Provence en Boite, which garnered a cult following in Bay Ridge before moving to its location in Carroll Gardens. Chef Jean-Jacques Bernat, who’s worked at Vinegar Factory and Citarella, and his charming wife, Leslie, are indeed from Provence, France and they’ve decorated the corner restaurant, on busy Smith Street, with leaf-print tablecloths and wood banquettes. Resist the charm. Aside from the delicious desserts—including a flourless chocolate cake and a fruit tart, both made on the premises—the food was dumbfoundingly unappetizing. Small, dry, mealy black olives tasted like they’d been sitting in their tiny bowls for weeks. The bread was slightly stale. An escargot starter mixed chewy snails and mushrooms in a red-wine reductions that tasted like a sea of vinegar. The seafood salad featured watery, tasteless mussels and cold, overcooked shrimps. Sliced duck breast arrived medium-well (not medium-rare as ordered), was gray and chewy and did not benefit from the addition of an overwhelming berry sauce. The accompanying vegetables—carrots, asparagus and haricots verts—had all the flavor of sour water. Sometimes the servers refilled wine and water glasses; sometimes they just watched us do it ourselves—as if in a dream far, far away. We wish we could have joined them.
Provence en Boite
|Venue name:||Provence en Boite||Contact:|
263 Smith St
|Cross street:||at DeGraw St|
|Opening hours:||Tue–Thu, Sun 8:30am–10:30pm; Fri, Sat 8:30am–11pm|
|Transport:||Subway: F, G to Carroll St|
|Price:||Average main course: $19. AmEx, MC, V|