The Francophone greasy spoon, love child of bistro and diner, has become its own New York restaurant genre. This newcomer lacks the scruffy charm of predecessors like the late Florent, but Belgian chef Mathieu Palombino brings his obsessive eye for detail to bear upon a whole roster of short-order classics. The show-stealer is a classic Reuben made with house-smoked corned beef and piled high with just enough melted Swiss and tangy kraut. There’s traditional Gallic fare, too, tailored for the diner digs: Escargot-style steamed whelks look like truck-stop eats on cafeteria dishware, while a generous bistro steak comes with excellent slim, stubby fries in a tall paper cone on the side. Desserts, like a dense orange blossom donut, could use a bit more work, but the built-to-share spiked milk shakes are fun and offbeat.
Start your perfect Saturday or Sunday in leisurely fashion at one of the best brunch places on the Lower East Side. If the wait’s too long at popular brunch spot Clinton St Baking Company, there’s no shortage of worthy alternatives in the area for baked goods and egg breakfasts.
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