Once confined to the sad heat-lamp preserve of supermarkets, rotisserie chickens have put a little shine on their spits lately—just see the much-ballyhooed versions at joints like Lafayette, Uncle Boons and Mission Cantina. Now, at Rotisserie Georgette, the primitive alchemy of spit roasting takes center stage in a setting more opulent than a deli case.
Owner Georgette Farkas spent 17 years as communications director for Daniel Boulud, before opening this high-ceilinged chapel of twirling meat. Clothless tables and butterscotch banquettes project a beauty more natural than that of the nip-tucked Upper East Side ladies who dine there.
With gleaming rotisseries spinning whole birds in the back, appetizers feel like perfunctory foreplay, a customary—if somewhat tedious—buildup to the main event. Fluffy, mushroom-rich Parisienne gnocchi ($18) disintegrate too quickly, while frisée-lardons salad ($16) screams for an oozing egg yolk to accompany its scant crumbling of blue cheese.
Better to beeline straight for the headliner: a silver skillet cradling the regal poule de luxe for two ($72). Newly-minted chef Chad Brauze—a cohort of Farkas from his days as sous chef at Daniel—dry-brines the pampered chicken overnight, dehydrating the skin so it roasts to a shattering crisp. Juicy breasts are topped with fat-tinged panko-mushroom stuffing; you could eat a pint, but will have to settle for a thin layer, supporting the seared foie gras perched on top of the bird. The humbler route is poulet roti ($24), an unadorned but equally succulent rotisserie half chicken with your choice of flavored jus. The simplest version is your best bet: earthy herbs de Provence and garlic. No frills, no regrets.
A too-floral pepper-crusted rib eye ($45) and a scattering of undercrisped vegetable sides distract from the poultry bliss, but dessert provides a worthy finale. Tarte Tatin for two ($18) tempers sweet apples with bitter, near-burnt sugar and tart crème fraîche that’s dolloped tableside from a silver pail.
While not everything here strikes the same balance, when it comes to the bird, Rotisserie Georgette has its chickens in a row.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Meal highlights: Poule de luxe, poulet roti, pommes frites, tarte Tatin
Behind the bar: Cocktails skew sweet, like Scotch obscured with pear juice and maple syrup; stick to the small wine list, featuring under-the-radar French selections.
Vibe: Where fat bankers take their fur-coated wives, and pink-shirted bros bring their high-heeled girlfriends.
Cocktail chatter: Poule de luxe is French slang for a high-class escort.
Soundcheck: Plenty quiet for civil conversation, which you should get out of the way before devouring chicken renders you mute.
By Daniel S. Meyer