The room is pretty dull, although I very much enjoyed the oversized peonies stretching across the pale, buff colored walls. There are the requisite vintage looming above ruddy leather banquettes (which imho would've been much more attractive in a deep cerulean or logan green). The service was superb, however, genuinely happy to welcome us and efficient and friendly throughout the meal. They were, for the most part, the high point.
|A peek into the kitchen.|
That's not to say Frenchette is bad.... at ALL. It's just not exciting. And there were some technical errors throughout the meal- actually in almost every dish- that really need addressing. Friends more knowledgeable and invested in wine than am I voiced adamant disapproval of the strictly natural wine list. Now, this is a growing trend and I don't have a vehement opinion on it, but I do have thoughts about their pricing. The by-the-glass list isn't online, but if I recall correctly they started around seventeen and skyrocketed upwards. I feel like there should be $12-14 options in the very least. That said, perhaps (counter-intuitively, like un-pasteurized juice) natural wines are pricier. At any rate, we enjoyed a very civil rosé, not enough to remember the varietal or producer, but it drank very well with our meal.
And onto that, we began with Asperges Vinaigrette, which maybe should've been Vinaigrette Asperges, because it was drowned in
so much mustard-pungent sauce, the bi-colored spears were almost irrelevant. I scraped off probably 60% of the sauce and it was still overwhelming. And worse than not being able to taste the asparagus was not being able to sense even a hint of the generous shavings of truffle blanketing the dish, especially since they were probably the primary reason these three spears cost $18. They might as well have been Crayola's
Timberwolf for as much flavor as they imparted- that being none. Better were some really fat, Belon oysters pooled with warm butter, giving them just a slight toothsomeness before they slid pleasantly down the hatch.
The most successful dish, though, might have been a side of za'atar roasted carrots, their meatier ends achieving a decadent sweetness and softness, while the tapered point of the root end got blessedly crispy, as crunchy as a French fry. They weren't the best roasted carrots I've ever had- their seasoning could've been a little more assertive, loving za'atar as I do- but the carrots
themselves were flavorful enough not to depend on the enhancement. Benne (sesame) seeds added nuttiness and the smooth, thick bed of labneh a cool counterpart. I enjoyed my roasted cod with sweet little cockles in the shell in a verdant sauce of parsley, but the
chanterelles mentioned were not noticeably present. And it wasn't one to write home about, it didn't elicit any complaints, either.
For dessert, of which there is but four options, we tried the millefeuille- you could almost say by default, because I previewed the tarte tatin at a table near us, and is was very thin and flat, which probably had a lovely buttery, caramelized crust, but was going to lack that lovely plushness of baked apples that I love in a tatin, so we opted against. The millefeuille boasted an ethereally light cream filling, but the feuilles were a little on the sturdy side. They were deeply baked, tasting of that almost-burnt pie crust nuttiness, while I would've preferred a pliant, flaky pastry that could melt into the cream. Instead, the pressure of the fork made the filling squirt out all over the place. But they DID manage to eke out a candle to recognize my tablemate's birthday, another nod to the capable service.
The one dish I regret not having tried is the Brouillade, a soft scramble of eggs and sea urchin, although not being a fan of the latter dissuaded me from ordering it at the time. A return visit would definitely include that, but given the rest of the experience, as well as two other friends' assessments on different occasions that matched mine, that just probably is not going to happen. Desolée, Frenchette... I know we were both hoping for better.
241 West Broadway