Chagall Bistro, Park Slope
this is a great place that offers real French food/dishes which happens to be Kosher as well. i went there and was surprised by how well the food was presented and how good it was. clients were half Jewish and half non Jewish. the atmosphere was great and i felt like i was in Paris. Being from Paris myself i really appreciated it.
We were there for lunch today. The atmosphere is pleasant and felt authentically bistro-ish to my husband, who traveled to Paris many times as a child/teen, before he kept kosher. The crowd was quite varied, with probably only 1/3 of the customers being kosher-keepers. They're still working out some bumps; this was the first time that they're making a kosher brunch, and our order was delayed >30 minutes, although after 20 minutes, we received several effusive apologies and a free bread basket. The bread basket, containing toasted challah and baguettes, plus two rugelach, was otherwise $10. It came with little dishes of honey, strawberry jam, and margarine, and I spent some time wondering what would be a reasonably-French non-dairy butter replacement, because margarine just isn't it. Maybe goose/duck fat? Olive oil seems too Italian, but perhaps schmaltz is too Central/Eastern European.
We had the classic bistro roasted duck breast over lentils, which we enjoyed, and the saffron risotto, which suffered from the lack of dairy. After eating various pareve risottos over the last few years in various fleishig restaurants, I've come to the conclusion that it just can't be done well without butter and cheese. Our two desserts, the floating island and the blueberry clafoutis, were very tasty, and gone very quickly!
We are not generally in the neighborhood, and wouldn't travel the hour or so just to go there, but would go back if we were nearby.
I liked it. The food was good and the atmpsphere was pleasant. There were 2 of us, so I tasted a cocoabean/duck soup(special) and the pea soup. A grilled tuna (special) and the duck breast. And a dessert souffle. Some items on the menu (a beer, two wines, lamb) were not available for an early dinner. The waiter should mention the unavailibility of lamb. But everything I tasted was good.
Nothing, however, was good enough to induce me to travel to Brooklyn. Not when I can go to La Marais, a wonderful restaurant. If you're already in Brooklyn, that's different.
I am willing to go to Brooklyn just to eat. I want to try Basil again. I've only been once, but I suspect that it may be worth the trip to Brooklyn.
Pardes certainly is. When next in Brooklyn, I'll head striaght for Pardes. Really, why settle for anything less?
Had dinner there tonight - Sunday evening. All but one main dish on the menu, were above $40.
The french bistro atmosphere was nice. I thought that the tongue appetizer that we shared was awful. It was an unseasoned, unsauced, flavorless, unattractive piece of what I think was boiled sliced tongue, with 2 dabs of a mayo type dressing on the side - accompanied by a tiny portion of some kind of slaw.
I ordered the duck in cherry sauce, which was just o.k. My husband had the cornish hen , which was nicely seasoned, moist, and tasty, and was accompanied by flavorful mashed potatoes.
For dessert, we shared a really good apple tart, served with caramel sauce, and whipped cream.
The wait staff was pleasant, but we had a very long wait between the appetizer, and mains.
All in all, although there were plusses and minuses, we won't be hurrying back.
I really like Chagall Bistro. It definitely has that quaint French bistro feeling, upscale enough to make it a great date spot, without being too formal or stuffy feeling. I personally like that it is somewhat out of the way, not in a major Jewish neighborhood. All the food I've ever had has been good to excellent--not as creative and "out there"as Pardes, but not the boring steak-and-sides menu that many other upscale kosher restaurants seem to have. I've had the steak, the salt-crusted salmon, the tongue appetizer, the duck appetizer, the Grand Marnier souffle (so worth it!) and a lamb dish that isn't on the menu anymore. The prices are kind of high, but the portions are more generous than you might expect at a nice restaurant, and the ambiance and service are really much better than most other kosher options. The brunch menu looked intriguing, I'll have to come back for it one day!