Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bit & Morsels

Salade Verte at Beaumarchais.

by Erin Frankel

The one thing the meatpacking district doesn’t need is another club-themed restaurant. These were my first thoughts when learning of Beaumarchais. I was wrong. In short, Beaumarchais delivered an upscale French dining experience, complete with soft white tablecloths, white walls, a traditional and sophisticated brasserie-styled menu, and attentive waitstaff.

After a good two hours of dinner, the music starts a-thumping, the disco ball starts a-spinning, and the champagne a-flowing. Beautiful people suddenly appear (dancing) on chairs. Tables of strangers merge to start the party. And Beaumarchais becomes the first and last destination on any given night.
Quiet days (above) and busy nights (below) at Beaumarchais.
The real difference comes from the kitchen. Only one month ago, Beaumarchais appointed its new chef, David Diaz, who plays to the restaurant’s strengths. The food is polished and elegant, yet still fundamentally French. Diaz has cleared the menu of typical bottle-service bar bites and brings refined dishes to the table, like the bouillabaisse and the Maine lobster with trumpet royale mushrooms.

To start, a traditional French salade verte — a large bowl filled with hearts of lettuce with mustard vinaigrette, shallots, and parmesan — is intended for the waist-line conscious. Meat-eaters will appreciate the ravioli de boeuf, a braised short rib ravioli with roasted butternut squash puree and bone marrow in a beef jus and sherry vinegar.
Ravioli de Boeuf at Beaumarchais.
As for entrees, Diaz’s newest additions — like the bouillabaisse filled with a selection of mussels, bass, scallops, shrimp and squid accompanied by a crispy grilled baguette and homemade rouille or the Maine Lobster with trumpet royale mushrooms, beet greens, lemons, and fingerling potatoes in a lobster mushroom cream sauce — are strongly recommend.

After a few glasses of veuve and time well spent dancing to the DJ's beats, we soon came to realize that Beaumarchais was redefining the dinner party, sans the degrading bouncer and faux velvet rope. Welcome to the grown-ups club.

Beaumarchais
409 West 13th Street
212.675.2400
Bouillabaise at Beaumarchais.
Onegin. Russian excess has arrived in the West Village. Everything about Onegin screams Russian Opulence. The large brocade dining room is filled with crystal chandeliers, oversized plush gold chairs, dark brown tables that display copies of Pushkin’s manuscripts (with a goose-feather quill) along with a giant portrait of the poet on the ceiling.

The décor is impressive, to say the least, as is the glamorous menu, filled with Eastern European favorites, which your waiters (donned in butler jackets) will deliver to you on classic Russian China.
Salad verte.
Start with some of Onegin’s house-infused vodka. Then sample some of Russia’s traditional dishes: blini with red caviar, wild duck salad over frisee, Russian roasted beet salad, smokehouse delicacies (including cubes of house-smoked fish and potato chips), and some wild mushroom strudel. As for the entrée, I suggest going on the lighter side and trying Onegin’s special Pan-Seared striped bass on parsley salad.

Dining in this vast, gaudy Russian supper club is something everyone should try at least once. The sooner the better.

Onegin
91 Avenue of the Americas
212.924.8001
Russian roasted beet salad.
Pan-seared striped bass. : Wild mushroom strudel.
Blini with red caviar.
Smokehouse delicacies.
Maine lobster.
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