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Authentic French Bistro Demarchelier, owned by artist Eric Demarchelier

RESTAURANT REVIEW: Demarchelier French Bistro

Tucked away around the corner of Madison Avenue on 86th Street is a little bit of Paris. Even if you weren’t looking for it, you can’t miss the red awning and the white curtains that draw you into the warm and inviting bistro, Demarchelier French Bistro. Since its opening in 1978, the family-owned and operated restaurant has brought authentic French flair to the Upper East Side.

Authentic French Bistro Demarchelier, owned by artist Eric Demarchelier

Authentic French Bistro Demarchelier, owned by artist Eric Demarchelier

It was a welcome respite from a cold winter night. Stepping inside the cozy establishment, you’re greeted by the convivial energy emanating from the bar. Unlike many of New York City’s too-crowded watering holes, this one had enough room for everyone and wasn’t overly noisy. Amidst the socializing patrons at the bar was the sweet and friendly Emily Demarchelier, greeting everyone with a smile. Emily runs the restaurant and is the daughter of the owner, artist, and restaurateur, Eric Demarchelier, and not to mention a niece to famed fashion photographer,
Patrick Demarchelier. With that said, it is no wonder that the walls are filled with colorful original abstract and figure paintings by Eric Demarchelier. They’re all for sale should you wish to take home something quite special with your leftovers.

Authentic French Bistro Demarchelier, owned by artist Eric Demarchelier

CHRIS: Unlike a lot of so-called French establishments that either offer Americanized versions of French meals or experimental fusions with French inspirations, this place offers up the hearty traditional dishes like bouillabaisse, duck confit, coq au vin, Moules Mariniere, quiche, and escargot. It’s also good to note that many of the meat, poultry, and vegetables are organic and sourced from nearby farms. There’s also a prix-fix menu paired with a glass of wine or sparkling French cider as well as a daily special. While we wished our stomachs would expand to try the whole of the menu, here were our picks for the night.

GLASGOW: It was an amazing pleasure to see so many authentic French dishes available at one restaurant in both the entree and dessert menus. We couldn’t remember the last time we saw Pot au feu and Cassoulet (the latter is only available on Thursdays) on a dinner menu. Dessert-wise, both tarte Tatin and Crepes Suzette have been equally elusive on menus as well.

COCKTAILS

Authentic French Bistro Demarchelier, owned by artist Eric Demarchelier

The Purple Blossom
GLASGOW: I love pea flower so this libation immediately caught my eye. This cocktail was very fresh and heavy on lemon juice. It may not look like it but the lemon juice really comes through in the Purple Blossom. There is a very light dash of simple syrup, so if you’re expecting a sweet drink, this isn’t it. Fans of gin cocktails, this is a must just to experience the Empress 1908 Indigo Gin.

Grapefruit Rosemary Mule
CHRIS: I’ve been on a mule kick lately (pun absolutely intended) and have been trying out all the different iterations of the Moscow Mule. I was skeptical about this one as I am not a fan of grapefruit. Surprisingly, it was not a bitter and tart drink. Made with Deep Eddy Grapefruit vodka, fresh lime juice, and ginger beer with a sprig of rosemary, this refreshingly simple concoction went down easy. The rosemary added a lasting aroma that perfectly accented each sip.

Empress 75
GLASGOW: I swear my color coordinating cocktails were not planned. I selected this cocktail because French 75 is one of my all time favorites and I wanted to see what how different champagne (as in the French 75) and sparkling wine (as in the Empress 75) would make the two. I must say it is very different. The dry sparkling wine is a noticeable difference but I still enjoyed the Empress 75 very much.

APPETIZERS

Moules Mariniere

Authentic French Bistro Demarchelier, owned by artist Eric Demarchelier

GLASGOW: Diana Ross has an old song where the chorus starts with “I want muscles”; granted she’s talking about muscles on a man, not mussels but that song nevertheless describes our obsession with mussels. I want mussels and I want it all the time. The sauce was heavenly and you better believe we had to refrain from lifting the bowl to our mouth and drinking the incredible sauce. Thank goodness for the bread.

Avocado Crab Salad

Authentic French Bistro Demarchelier, owned by artist Eric Demarchelier

CHRIS: Not at all what I expected, but in a very good way. I was thinking I’d get the typical mixed greens with a few pieces of crab sprinkled in and drizzled with a light dressing. Instead, what is set before me is a decent sized tortilla bowl in the middle of a plate heaping with crab meat on top of fresh guacamole and topped with arugula. I love crab and this was a lot of crab. While the layered concept makes for a clean aesthetic presentation, it is much better when thoroughly mixed in the edible bowl.

ENTREES

Duck Confit

Authentic French Bistro Demarchelier, owned by artist Eric Demarchelier
CHRIS: I like duck confit but it’s always a gamble because it can be hard to cook it properly. While deceivingly simple, it takes some time to preserve the duck in its own fat. However, Demarchelier’s duck confit is nothing short of amazing. The two juicy duck legs were served on a bed of white beans stew. This traditional French dish has ample flavor and melt-off-the-bones goodness. I was baffled when the waiter put a steak knife by me since I can peel the meat off with barely a tug from my fork. The beans were just right – not mushy with just a good amount of firmness.

Ribeye with Pepper Sauce and Cream Spinach

Authentic French Bistro Demarchelier, owned by artist Eric Demarchelier Authentic French Bistro Demarchelier, owned by artist Eric Demarchelier
GLASGOW: I don’t know if there’s anything that beats a great peppercorn steak from a French restaurant. If there is, I haven’t tried it yet. My medium-well steak (pictured sans peppercorn sauce) was very tender with a juicy interior and a subtle char. The pepper sauce was mild, not very peppery – perfect for those who are not used to a spice heavy palate like ours. The cream spinach was flavorful, very creamy but light on the thickness of the cream. We personally love a thicker sauce but that didn’t take away from how delicious this was. Those on a low sodium diet will appreciate the light hand of salt.

DESSERTS

Chocolate Mousse Cake

Authentic French Bistro Demarchelier, owned by artist Eric Demarchelier
CHRIS: This was the perfect ending to an already gastronomically satisfying night. The cake part is perfectly moist and soft while the mousse layered in between is light, fluffy, and wonderfully chocolaty. Sitting atop a plate of strawberry sauce with a dollop of whipped cream, this cake was sweet and heavenly. A wise choice for a chocolate lover who didn’t want to go over the edge of full.

Crepe Suzette

Authentic French Bistro Demarchelier, owned by artist Eric Demarchelier
GLASGOW: Thank goodness for Demarchelier. You hardly see this indulgent dessert on menus anymore. We greatly appreciated the restaurant for bringing it back into our lives. We highly recommend being extra nice to your server so he will giddily douse your crepe in a waterfall of Grand Marnier before it’s engulfed in the flames. Every bite sinfully divine, especially as we had more than enough Grand Marnier left over to make this dessert even more intoxicating.

Demarchelier is a neighborhood fixture for a reason, you can clearly see why in the photos above. Whether you’re in the area for a quick bite or a romantic local for dinner, we recommend heading to 50 East 86th Street to sate your palate.

 

 

 

Written in Collaboration with Christine Ongsueng

Demarchelier Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Food Photography: Cafe Centro Monday Mariage Rose and Crudo Pairing

The Perfect Pairing: Monday Mariage Wine Series at Cafe Centro

We had so much fun the first few times we dined at French Brasserie, Cafe Centro (especially during French Restaurant Week), that we wanted to indulge one more time in the talents of Executive Chef Christina Towers. Which is why we were really excited to hear about the Monday Mariage Wine Series at Cafe Centro. In French, “mariage” means a “blend of two things”, so every Monday night this summer Executive Chef Christina Towers is featuring a menu of perfectly crafted food and beverage pairings.

Food Photography: Cafe metro Monday Mariage Rosé and Crudo Pairing

The Monday Mariage Wine Series at Cafe Centro begun on July 9th with an Oysters and Sancerre pairing and will end on August 13th with what we’re sure will be an amazing pairing of Rosés and Duck and Chicken Rillettes. We had the pleasure of experiencing the July 16th pairing of a trio of Rosés and Crudos (pictured above). All wonderfully priced at $30.00 per person. From right to left you will find the Domain de Cala Classic Rosé paired with Scallops with grapes, verjus and lavender; the Domaine de Cala Prestige Rosé paired with Tuna with watermelon, citrus vinaigrette, and black radish; and last but not least the Bouchard Aine & Fils Rosé paired with Branzino and bell pepper, basil, and rosemary. Here are the bottles featured below:

Wine Photography: Cafe metro Monday Mariage Rose and Crudo Pairing

We were quite pleased with the results and our favorite pairing was a tie between the Domaine de Cala Prestige Rosé with Tuna and the Bouchard Aine & Fils Rosé with the Branzino. Not that we didn’t like the Domain de Cala Classic Rosé paired with Scallops, we very much loved it as well. Prices for the Monday Mariage Wine Series at Cafe Centro range from $25.00-$30.00 unless otherwise specified on their menu. Please note that this menu is offered in addition to their a la carte menu, but is one-night-only for that Monday evening. Because of this, we enjoyed the wine pairing as our appetizers and ordered the Roulade de Saumon (a perfectly grilled Salmon with a lovely char, with watercress, roasted fingerlings, set in the most delicious Riesling sauce), and the Poulet Basquaise (a hearty braised chicken with piperade and pureed potatoes).

Food Photography: Cafe metro Monday Mariage Salmon Entree
Food Photography: Cafe Centro Monday Mariage Poulet Basquaise

Chef Towers also surprised us with side orders of Macaroni Gratin with Boursin cheese and tomato (this was swiftly devoured), Hand-Cut Pomme Frites with truffle and parsley, and succulent Green Asparagus with garlic and lemon. Sadly there was no room for dessert.

Food Photography: Cafe Centro Monday Mariage French Macaroni and Cheese
Food Photography: Cafe Centro Monday Mariage Truffle French Fries
Food Photography: Cafe Centro Monday Mariage Green Asparagus

Upcoming Monday Mariage Wine Series pairings at Cafe Centro include:

JULY 30 | LANSON CHAMPAGNE PAIRING | $25.00
back by popular demand! all 3 pairings are included in the price
BLACK LABEL BRUT NV + COMPOSED CRAB SALAD
granny smith apple, hearts of palm, avocado
ROSÉ LABEL BRUT NV + CROQUE MADAME
quail egg, Parisian ham, gruyère
WHITE LABEL SEC + PORTOBELLO-STUFFED MUSHROOM
short rib, fourme d’ ambert

AUGUST 6 | RIESLING + SLIDERS | $25.00
1 glass of Riesling + 3 Sliders
FOIE GRAS SLIDERS
truffle honey, Asian pear

AUGUST 13 | ROSÉS + RILLETTES | $25.00
2 glasses of Rosé + Duo of Rillettes
DOMAINE DE CALA PRESTIGE + DUCK RILLETTE
cornichons, whole grain mustard, baguette
DOMAINE DE CALA CLASSIC + CHICKEN RILLETTE
cornichons, whole grain mustard, baguette

Food Photography: Cafe Centro Monday Mariage Wine Series Pairing

We highly recommend experiencing this wonderful wine pairing series. We promise it will make your Mondays anything but mundane. As always, it’s always a pleasure to speak directly with the Chef. We loved having the opportunity to praise Executive Chef Christina Towers (pictured above) on the success of the Monday Mariage Wine Series pairings at Cafe Centro.

Please be sure to check back for updates as Cafe Centro announces new menus.

 

 

 

Cafe Centro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

French Restaurants

Eat, Drink, Be French: French Restaurant Week Kick Off at Cafe Centro

We were invited back to French Brasserie-styled, Cafe Centro, to celebrate the kick-off of the 9th edition of French Restaurant Week New York as part of the Bastille Week festivities. From July 2nd to 15th in New York (and July 9th to 22nd in Chicago), participants will experience masterful cuisine and gastronomy while honoring French culture and history. For two weeks, selected French restaurants will offer prix-fixe menus at $17.89, $25, $38, and $178.90 to commemorate the French Revolution in 1789.

Participating New York restaurants: AOC East, AOC L’aile ou la Cuisse, Bistro Vendome, Bistrot Leo at the Sixty Soho Hotel, Boucherie , Boucherie Park, Brasserie 8 1/2 Patina Group, Cafe Centro Patina Group, Cafe du Soleil, Deux Amis, Dominique Bistro, Excuse My French, Fig & Olive, Jubilee, La Sirène, Le Bateau Ivre, Le Rivage, Maison Harlem, Match 65, Pardon My French, Perrine at The Pierre Hotel, Troquet.

French Restaurant Week continues to partner with OpenTable where diners can easily book their reservations online throughout the event. At Cafe Centro, known for French favorites with a Mediterranean twist, Executive Chef Christine Towers offered up a great selection of hors-d’oeuvres paired with two appropriately selected rosé wines (‘Tis the season for Pink Drink!):  Jalliance Cremant de Bordeaux (Brut and Rosé) and Chateau Pourcieux Rosé 2017.

Chef Towers utilizes her French-focused menu to masterfully play with Mediterranean, Italian, Japanese, Peruvian and Mexican techniques on your plate together. We sampled a beautifully refreshing Leek Terrine in champagne vinaigrette, a vibrant red Tuna Crudo (with watermelon beet and citrus), and an AMAZING Beef Tartare Crostini, which we very graciously went back to for seconds and thirds because it was THAT delicious.

Chef Towers was also very interesting to briefly chat with! Not only because of her amazing Michelin-studded resume, but her proven leadership abilities as an executive chef in a notoriously male-dominated industry. I am certain she has a lifetime of stories and pearls of wisdom to share with aspiring top chefs from all walks of life.

Cafe Centro, you have made a new friend in me.  And as the French saying goes,  “Que les invités qui entrent dans cette maison, repartent en amis.”  We will be back to embrace you at your Wine Bar series this Summer!

A New Pop Up Wine Bar Series at Café Centro sees Chef Christina Towers transforming Café Centro’s outdoor patio on 45th Street and Vanderbilt Avenue. On Monday evenings this summer, the French brasserie turns into a wine bar devoted to French pairings. Dubbed Monday Mariage, a nod to the French definition of “Mariage,” meaning “a blend of 2 things”, the wine bar runs from June 18th through September 10th, 2018 every Monday night. Each night will feature a different pairing, starting with Champagne, Provencal rosé, and Armagnac.  For $25.00 – $30.00, guests can enjoy expert pairings featuring French food and beverage menus that highlight a classic French beverage (i.e., Champagne) matched with 1-3 of its perfect counterparts (i.e. caviar). The rotating schedule kicked off on Monday, June 18th with Lanson Champagne paired with Crab Salad, CroqueMadamee with Quail Eggs and Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms. The full calendar is available on www.cafecentrowinebar.com.

ALL of the French Restaurant Week participating menus were so promising to the senses. I’ve already made my reservations for Le Bateau Ivre for lunch, Excuse My French for their Bar Menu offerings, and Cafe du Soleil for Dinner….stay tuned for reviews…

 

Will you be partaking in French Restaurant Week?

 

 

Edited by Glasgow Skinner
All untagged photos provided by Cafe Centro