Coq au Vin and Cassoulet
We've been residents of New York City for two weeks now, but have yet to find a standout coq au vin or cassoulet.
This is shorthand for "where are the really good brasseries," since any place that can do either or both of these is probably standout in every other way.
Burke and Well miss Paris! Can you help?
I will start by saying that I do not know all that many restaurants that do Coq au Vin. However, I was a big fan of the Coq au Vin at Montparnesse on (I believe) East 51st between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. Made with mushrooms, pearl onions and nice meaty chunks of lardon, and served over mashed potatoes, I think I got that dish nearly every time I went there. My fiancee would get different dishes (especially the hangar steak) and they were all quite tasty as well. They have a nice cheap prix fix, but you have to get there before 6.45pm, if my memory serves me correctly.
You are just as likely to find these two dishes at a French bistro as at a brasserie.
Park Bistro, on Park Av. S., b/t 28th & 29th Sts., has both coq au vin and cassoulet on the winter menu. Regulars to this board know that this is one of our favorite restaurants. We were there a couple of nights ago, and the food, as always, was delicious. As it happens, my husband had the coq au vin. I wanted something on the lighter side, so I chose a scallops dish prepared a la St. Jacques, which was accompanied by a tasty cauliflower puree. My husband has had the cassoulet there in the past (cassoulet being one of his passions), and he's always happy with their version.
Gascogne, on 8th Av., b/t 17th & 18th Sts., specializes in the cuisine of that eponymous region in France where cassoulet is a major dish, so it's not surprising that theirs is a first-rate version. No coq au vin, however.
Gavroche, on 14th St., b/t 7th & 8th Avs., has very good food. Coq au vin is on the regular menu, but not cassoulet, unless it's offered as a special.
The first cassoulet my husband and I ever tasted was in Paris, maybe 20 years ago, at a restaurant that I believe has since closed called Ramponneau. That set us on a search at home. I haven't been to LCB Brasserie in quite some time, but we thought their version was the closest to our first. Perhaps someone who's been there within the last year might be able to chime in with a more up-to-date critique than "I always loved it."
I like Lucien, on First and First. Always reliable, always well-prepared, and in a bistro setting that will take you back to Paris (at least as far as an interior in the East Village will allow!).
We ate dinner at Park Bistro night before last with 2 gentlemen from Jura and a woman from Marsailles. We all loved the food. The Frenchmen ordered steak, rare, and it was cooked to perfection. My husband had the coq au vin. It was quite tasty. I had monk fish and it was delicious. The only hitch in the evening was that the service charge was taxed but when it was pointed out to the staff the check was changed promptly. I'd go again to this restaurant. The atmosphere was lovely.