French brunch in Bay Ridge
- Jim D.
Tried brunch today at a bistro named 'Provence en boite' on 3rd Ave near 83rd. The bright yellow storefront made it stand out among the other drab coffee shops & Italian places in the area. Brunch included an appetizer course, a glass of French lemonade, coffee, the main course, & crepes for dessert. I started off with an endive salad topped with crumbled bacon, Roquefort, & a mustard vinagrette, followed by a ham & goat cheese omlette w/ potatoes, & crepes Suzette for dessert. My girlfriend started off with a plate of 2 small portabello & goat cheese sandwiches on toast w/ mixed greens, followed by a smoked salmon omlette w/ potatoes, & chocolate crepes for dessert. Not your average brunch, but delicious! The servers/owners are a very friendly husband & wife team. The place was mostly full, but we were seated immediately upon entering. After experiencing a meal there I couldn't believe it wasn't overflowing with customers. If you are in the area, try it before word gets out!
I tried Provence en Boite once, early this past summer. The decor was charming and cozy, which I thought unusual for the neighborhood. (I've lived near Bay Ridge for 22 years, so I can say.) I had brunch there with three other people, including a Frenchman. Though the owners were charming, service was slow, despite there being hardly any other diners. My omelette was just decent, it was very watery for some reason. They didn't have orange juice, which I thought strange, so I got the French lemonade as well. It's stuff that comes in pretty bottles, available at some supermarkets, and is colored with crushed bugs. I prefer fresh lemonade. The crepes were a little thicker than what I'm used to. My companions all enjoyed their meals well enough, chilled carrot soup, Croque Monsieur and omelettes as well. Food wasn't fantastic, but it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience because the atmosphere was relaxed, it was Sunday, and I was with friends. Anyway, I'm sure things have improved a lot since I went. I'm curious to try their dinner.