Category Archives: classic French

Bitten by a New Beast: 6 Reasons You’ll Fall for Bar Bête

I love searching for French restaurants. It’s research I never tire of because I often find food that I can’t stop thinking about for days, or weeks, till I finally taste it.  

One particular evening that stretched till the next morning, because of the reason mentioned above, I found Bar Bête. This Smith Street French eatery opened late last year and quickly proved itself worthy of its bossy name.

What makes this French-foodie destination so beastly (in a good way)? Here are six reasons why you’ll be smitten with Bar Bête’s fine French cuisine at first taste.

1. A beautiful, glossy, and ebony bar. Bar Bête’s baby grand piano-type bar stands in the middle of the restaurant is a little more than perfect. I love an upscale, yet comfy bar. I would’ve actually preferred to sit there.

Instead, I had the pleasure of sitting at a table opposite the door. I didn’t get cold—thankfully, it was a nice night. 

Bar Bête’s superior execution of its menu, which consists of two short lists of shareable “snacks” and one short list of entrees, spurred reasons two through six. 

2. The Rolled Omelette with peekytoe crab and seaweed butter! Doesn’t it just sound mouthwatering?! Heavenly. Super delicate! Super moist! Ridiculously flavorful! A dish that I inhaled, or rather wanted to inhale and not share at all with anyone. Alas, I ended up sharing it but trust me if I could’ve inhaled it on sight, I definitely would have. 

It came out and it was lovely. A proud moment for us all. Me, for finally getting the chance to enjoy it IRL, after drooling over a few enticing pictures of it for weeks. The godsend chef who created this thing of a life-long dream come true. My dining partner for accompanying me to a French restaurant. Most people claim they don’t like French food but once they go to a genuine French restaurant, not just a convenient fast food chain around the city, they realize how amazing French food truly is. The Rolled Omelette is change your mind about French food good.

3. The mushroom brioche was a perfect balance of truffle and butter and flaky brioche pastry. It honestly was unlike any savory pastry I’ve tried. Packed with swirly sharp and intense flavor, I was sure that among its ingredients was gruyere, but no cheese is listed as a component on the menu. It was said that it was too salty. But I had nothing bad to say about this snack, in fact I thoroughly enjoyed and happily finished it.

4.  Imagine a French quesadilla and you’ll have a basic idea of the chickpea crepe. With gooey but mild fontina cheese married to herbs and swiss chard, I found the familiar zest of French fusion in this crepe. French and Italian cuisine is a fusion that’s so common that I hesitate to call it fusion. I’d prefer a substitution of a stinky brie—and a tiny bit of Dijon mustard—to underscore French authenticity. However, it’s a very popular item on BB’s menu.

5. The crust of the crispy fish, my entrée, was a crunchy and delicious envelope that held moist, flavorful fluke. I was grateful for this dish’s garnishments—grated lemon, creamy mashed potatoes and a small topping of greens.

6. There was no shortage of rave reviews for the smoked chicken at my table. Hence, the reason I didn’t get a chance to try it. Gone in three minutes. I thought I ate fast?! This dish replaced the aged duck dish on BB’s menu, which I really wanted for my entrée initially. Spinach and polenta and fig and onion confit, which probably created a sweet and tart coating/thin gravy of bursting flavor on the chicken. The quintessential French dish. I’ve had many dishes in my lifetime that are similar to this classically French, rustic meal that every French resto’s menu should feature. 

The Greatest Crepe: Five Fantastic Brooklyn Crepe Makers

Nothing like a great crepe to warm you in the Winter. It’s almost therapeutic to watch a crepe artist do their handywork. And you’ll forget all about the cold when you, before your first bite, admire the neat, tidy bits of cream and strawberries peeping out of tanned, toasty and crisp folds of a crepe. Any of these five creperies will give you an engaging and memorable dining experience.    

Eight Turn Crepe  I went to this busy location in Dekalb Market and loved it. Every time I think of my savory shrimp and avo crepe turned ‘round and ‘round eight times—hence ETC’s name—I want to go back for it, and to try more. Eight Turn Crepe’s Japanese rice crepes menu is extensive, so it took me a while to order. Once I finally ordered, service was timely and effective. Not lightning fast but certainly not slow either. 

Usually, I like to take food to go, but my son’s affection for eating food right away won on this occasion for two reasons. Crepes have a strict no-travel policy—you must eat them ASAP—that if contested, the crepes will turn soggy in half an hour or less. 

I found myself trying to relax, as much as possible, in noisy and so-not-comfy Dekalb market. But the thought of a totally not crispy crepe was almost painful.

My mouth was literally watering as I watched other patrons pick up their orders. Finally, it came to me. And it was ridiculously beautiful, crispy edged, mouthwatering and a lot tastier than I’d hoped. 

Cloud 9 Crepes  A cute and quaint spot with lust-able rice crepes that made me walk to the other side of Bed-Stuy on a sunny but cold afternoon. Buses are not convenient during the day. But I was on a mission and no amount of inconvenience could stop my crepe craving, so I made it there and back in record time: about two hours. The longest time ever. 

By the time I inhaled it, my chicken salad crepe was of course soggy but still flavorful with Dijon mustard dressing. Sogginess aside, I could tell by the thickness of the crepe that it was a bit different from what I’m used to and what I prefer in a crepe.

Cloud 9’s space is sugary sweet though. What an adorable, child-friendly space for a friends’ get-together. 

Lakou Café  Three words, curry chickpea crepe, lingered in my mind for days till I finally ordered it for lunch. Not only did this wow-worthy vegetarian crepe exceed my expectations, it also destroyed any meat protein cravings for the rest of the day. Moments like these reaffirm my belief that Brooklyn is home to some of the best dining in the world. 

Lakou’s distinctive Haitian menu is a cool mix of classic French fare with adventurous Caribbean highlights. The Jerk Jackfruit crepe is on my long list of next times from local restaurants. “Next time, I’ll try this … next time I’ll try that.” 

By the way Lakou Café is the second Haitian resto this month that has blown me away with its undeniable flavor. And more Haitian restaurants are popping up. I see a guide to Brooklyn’s best Haitian cuisine on the horizon. It’s too spectacular to be overlooked.

Madame Poupon  Picture it! Valentine’s day 2020. You and your honey meet here at this authentic and intimate French restaurant. There’s candlelight, red roses and soft French music playing in the background. You find yourself sharing first, the vegetarian crepe, then second, the Daoulas crepe—fresh strawberries, chocolate ganache, vanilla whipped cream and black pepper—by taking turns to feed each other. What a perfect night for love. 

I hope to visit Madame Poupon sooner than Valentine’s Day next year, especially since it’s very conveniently located for me. But if I don’t make it there sooner then, it will skyrocket to the top of my list. The Daoulas crepe is one of a few sweet crepes that I’d like to try. Looks like dessert is the winner at Madame Poupon.

Take a Break and I’ll Bake Café & Creperie  Southern-French is always a favorite of mine. Cajun and Louisiana Creole cooking comes to mind. But Take a Break and I’ll Bake Café is about a fusion of American southern and European (French and Italian) cuisine. 

The decadent Peaches & Cream (Peach cobbler filling), and the Campfire (rich dark chocolate, marshmallows and graham crackers) crepes seem promising.  

Lead Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Frealthy Update

This onion soup wants to hug you, bathe you and tuck you in bed. Will you let it?

It’s a typical November day in NYC. The temperature is expected to drop almost 30 degrees today. To kickoff this soup season, as the New York Times referred to this time of year late last week, I just posted a mouthwatering recipe of vegetarian French onion soup on Frealthy.

Try it out and let me know what you think. What healthy substitutions or additions would you recommend?