CLOSED: Dinner, with a custom suit designer, at The New French
Monday, June 7, 2010 at 9:57AM
The Lady Who Lunches in RIP: NYC restaurant cemetary, Restaurant reviews

*All of the photos from my meal can be viewed on Flickr

The New French (we'll call it "TNF" for short) is the type of casual, yet sophisticated, bistro that every neighborhood needs.  Aside from its prized location in Manhattan's most charming neighborhood, the West Village, this under-the-radar restaurant keeps patrons returning; not only is the staff friendly and knowledgeable of their product (both food and wine), but the food is really good and relatively affordable. 

"On my way," texted Alfonso.  "Already here," I responded, "keeping ur seat warm."  As I awaited his arrival, I sipped a chilled flute of sparkling rose, which I had hoped would cool me off from the early evening's sweltering heat.  The small dining room seemed illuminated only by the lights of neighboring businesses and traffic on Hudson Street.  "Understated romance" are the words I would use to describe TNF's intimate atmosphere.

Just weeks prior, Alfonso had been on a 2-month work-cation, hand-delivering his custom-made suits to his clients in Switzerland, Italy, and Africa.  After ordering a bottle of Albarino, we briefly caught up on one another's work and play while, simultaneously, perusing the food menu.

For his appetizer, Alfonso ordered the Slow-Roasted Pulled Pork.  "You must try this," he said, "it's something I have to order every time I eat here."  Served atop toasted strips of pizza bianca (from Sullivan Street Bakery), were hand-pulled chunks of tender, roasted pork shoulder that had spent a decent amount of time marinating in a beer/chile bath.  A fragrant mustard raita topped the dish.  I found the genius behind the trinity of flavors and textures (toasted pizza bianca = crunchy, buttery; pulled pork = sweet, tender; mustard raita = creamy, sour, fragrant) trumped only by the fact that it was constructed with ingredients/preparations from three vastly different regions of the world: Italy, somewhere in South Carolina, and India/Pakistan.

The New French: Slow-Roasted Pulled Pork with Chilies, Beer & Mustard RaitaShortly after I helped Alfonso devour his appetizer, our entrees arrived.  While he began working on his Mussels & Fries, I took my first bite from one of three pan-seared scallops, served atop roasted cauliflower, cipollinis (baby onions), carrots, and parsnip puree.  The mollusks looked like small, white hockey pucks.  A golden, seared outer crust gave way to sweet, firm flesh that was seasoned with nothing more than salt and pepper; thus allowing for a flavor balance with the entree's vegetable-rich anchor.  Neither component outshined the other.

The New French: pan-roasted scallops with roasted cauliflower, cipollinis, carrots, and parsnip pureeI could not have asked for a more pleasant, delicious, and relaxed meal.  While I'm not sure if I would coin TNF as a "destination restaurant," I definitely plan to return in the near future.  Brunch, anyone?

Article originally appeared on The Lunch Belle (http://www.thelunchbelle.com/).
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