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RW - Pigalle

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All in all, a very good meal and a great evening. We had never been there before and were impressed. The place does remind you a bit of Paris, probably not the Pigalle neighborhood, but definitely Paris. We would certainly go back; any deficiencies I noticed may have been a function of RW.

{The menu is slightly different than what Restaurant Week organizers posted on line.}

For starters, I had a steak tartare, which incurred a $5.00 supplement – definitely worthwhile, since I passionately love steak tartare. It is offered with a fried egg, which turned out to be a whole egg, that must have been very lightly boiled, then shelled, then coated in very fine breadcrumbs (maybe panko) and lightly fried. I love neat innovative surprises like that. Doug has the duck liver terrine, which he was thrilled with. I had a small taste and thought the terrine was very rich, flavorful and smo-o-o-th!

For our entrees, Doug chose the olive encrusted leg of lamb and I had the pan fried striped bass. Doug definitely had the better selection – his lamb was perfectly on the rare side of medium rare. The olive thing was subtle, so our fears of some briny salty thing were totally unfounded. I had the striped bass, which was served with a summer gazpacho. The fish was, unfortunately, overcooked and dry. The gazpacho had the consistency of a salsa, rather than a soup, which was fine. It presented very nicely on the plate, but I found the gazpacho to be only OK, the tomatoes lacked flavor, especially considering it is August. The whole thing needed salt, which I had to request. Doug definitely won the entrée prize!

For dessert, I had the lemon tart with fresh blueberries, which was lovely. It was more like a lemon mousse or a light lemon custard than a tart (there was no pastry shell). It tasted fabulous. I guess I would have wished for more than 6 blueberries. Doug had the vanilla cake with fresh fruit, which was only OK. So I won the dessert prize.

The service was very good on the whole. Two strange things, though. One is that we were given one piece of (excellent!) bread but never offered another. I know Doug would have loved a piece of bread to mop up his lamb gravy. And I had had almost no lunch, so I was just plain hungry and would have eaten another piece of bread.

The other thing is that we were never offered coffee. Like many places during RW, you order your dessert with the rest of the meal. So after our entrees were cleared, dessert appeared, not via *our* waiter. I would have considered another glass of wine, and we both wanted coffee, but nada. I figured that, like in Paris, we would be offered coffee after dessert. Nope, after dessert, another strange face left a check. Not worth making a fuss over.

We each had a fancy cocktail to start (fun and delicious, $12 each) and one glass of wine. The bill ended up at $127 for the two of us. As I said, a great evening and a very good meal.

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  1. Am I the only one not too shy to ask for more bread? I'm sure they would have brought more. Was it one of those go around doling them out or did they have a basket?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Joanie

      It's kinda like you'd eat it if it were there, or if the girl with the basket was at the next table, but not worth asking someone to go get the girl...I guess.

      BTW - having striped bass last night reminded me of someone who used to post on alt.ne.food: Striper Guy. Joanie, I thought you might know him, or remember him.

      75 Charles Street South, Boston, MA 02116

      1. re: bgavin

        Is that not the same Striper Guy who posts here? He's still around no? I haven't looked at ne.food in ages, didn't work properly for me anymore.

    2. Thanks for the report - BarmyFotheringayPhipps and I are going Sunday night, and I'm looking forward to it.

      1. Hey Barbara-
        I think we were sitting next to you last night. Your pic looks familar and I did notice what you both had for dessert, as we came as you were finishing up.

        I had the clams casino, which were 5 small clams nicely presented on a bed of salt paste. The clams were mostly raw, with crunchy breadcrumbs on top. I do prefer clams cooked (although I do like raw oysters), so I wasn't crazy about it. DC had the creamless tomato soup with a tiny truffled grilled cheese sandwich. He said it was like a really good version of what his mom fed him for lunch when he was a kid.

        We inhaled the good bread too, so when our entrees were brought (not by our waiter) we asked for more and were given some almost immediately. So ask!

        I also had the lamb and liked it a lot, although it was only 2 small tasty slices. Even better was the large disk of moussaka that came with it. Delicious- with a very crispy top.

        DC had the duck with cherry sauce on potatoes. Although it was listed as "crispy duck half" on the menu, it was actually two small legs. They weren't confit, but they were obviously cooked a long time. They were not very fatty, and I thought they were too dry, but DC liked them.

        Dessert- I had the vanilla cake too, which I thought was very ordinary, and kinda dry. DC had the coconut/chocolate mousse in a phyllo cup, which he liked.

        Service was pleasant enough. There were waits between courses, which I prefer to having everything coming too fast. I think someone did ask if we wanted coffee, but that was after dessert. There were enough staff moving about the not so big room, so it wasn't hard to flag someone down if you needed something.

        So, all in all, a reasonably pleasant experience!

        1. Just thought I would chime in with my comments on our RW experience at Pigalle tonight. First, the service was very nice throughout the meal from the hostess to our waiter to the "runners" - they knew which dish went at which spot which is always a nice touch (and kind of a pet peeve of mine at nice places when they have to ask).

          I had the beet terrine with horseradish cream and an herb salad with candied walnuts. The gelee part of the terrine was slightly more "gelled" than I might have preferred, but the combination of horseradish and beets was nice and the candied walnuts were perfect (just the right amount of sweet and crunch). My husband had the duck terrine which he declared delicious.

          For my entree, I had the lamb. The lamb slices were perfectly cooked and I liked the olive crust and the accompanying cucumber salad with mint - a nice twist on the traditional "lamb and mint" combo, but I agree silver queen that the moussaka was the best part - really nice combination of lamb, eggplant, tomatoes, etc. My husband had the duck. I thought it looked like 1/2 of a small duck and the bite I tried was really good. I liked the combination of the carmelized onion, cherry sauce and duck skin. :-)

          Desserts were lemon tart and vanilla cake. Both tasty, but nothing too interesting.

          Overall, it was a really nice meal. I liked the wide variety of choices and the service did not seem to suffer from the increased volume. It is the first RW experience I have had (this is my 3rd over the past several years - I avoided it for a while after a couple of disappointing meals) that really made me want to go back to the restaurant.

          1. We had a very pleasant RW meal at Pigalle. Sat outside, it was delightful. Though we weren't offered any coffee, it did show up as a charge on the bill. Quickly rectified by the responsive staff.

            1. BarmyFotheringayPhipps and I ate there last night. We started with cocktails from their interesting list - BFP had the British Invasion, which combined gin, lemon juice, and iced Earl Grey tea, and I had...I don't recall the name, it was something like Just Peachy or whatever, and combined a peach liqueur, an aquavit, and Cynar, a liqueur flavored with artichoke among other things. It was very good - definitely on the sweet and fruity side but by no means cloying. I will say that I thought BFP's was even better.

              Appetizers were the beet terrine for me and the duck liver pate for him; the terrine was very good, although I'll agree with LauraB that the gelatinized layers were decidedly firm. The herb salad was actually a small portion of flat parsley leaves with the lightest of dressings, and the candied walnuts were wonderful, tasting more of butter and spices (cinnamon, maybe a tiny hint of cardamom?) than sugar. The duck liver pate, accompanied by three sets of condiments each comprising a tiny dab of creme fraiche, a wee cornichon, and a bit of blueberry jam, was outstanding.

              For entrees BFP had the flank steak au poivre with frites and creamed spinach, and I had the lamb. BFP was puzzled by his steak - we flagged down the waiter to ask if he'd gotten the substitution to tenderloin without his having requested it, but the waiter insisted it was flank steak. If so, they use a flank unlike any I've ever encountered, about half again as thick as I'm used to and fattier, with a much softer texture. In any case, it had a good flavor and the spinach was terrific, not a heavy creamed spinach at all but rather fresh spinach sauteed with a touch of cream and a lot of garlic. Frites were tasty as well. I didn't notice much poivre, but I only had a small taste.

              What people haven't mentioned in discussing the olive-crusted roast lamb is that the earthy flavor of the olives really brought out a gaminess in the lamb that I loved - though I think that anyone who already thinks that lamb is funky-tasting would have hated it. I did wish there was more than the two slices; the main part of the entree was actually the moussaka, which, as others have said, was delicious.

              After the preliminary cocktails, we decided we didn't want a whole bottle of wine. Our waiter guided us to a half-bottle of a wonderful minerally red that went perfectly with both the lamb and the beef.

              We both had the lemon tart for dessert - tart, intensely lemony mouse on a thin layer of cake, topped by a brulee crust, with a garnish of blueberry coulis and a small handful of blueberries.

              Although we saw a nearby table getting coffee, we weren't so lucky; like others in this thread we received the check immediately on finishing our desserts.

              Although there were a few empty tables when we arrived, the place filled up completely shortly after. There was a lot of staff, and service was efficient, if not especially sociable. Our bill, with the cocktails and the half-bottle of wine, came to about $130 plus tax and tip. Overall, I think this place is too expensive for my tastes and budget and not bliss-inducing enough to make me overlook that fact, but I'd happily go again for a RW dinner.