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NYC celebrates French cuisine with unique eats

It is never hard to deliver splendor to the palate in this city of culinary diversity. With its notable repertoire of exquisite dishes, French cuisine never fails to serve up foie gras, frog legs and croquembouche. This year, French Restaurant Week is taking place from Sept. 17 to Sept. 30, with 55 participating restaurants. Severine Picquet, the founder of French Restaurant Week and MPB Agency, a marketing and media liason company, is finally seeing her vision for the city’s
ultimate gastronomic party come to life.

“In February of 2011, we had the idea to create a French restaurant week by putting together restaurants and organizations for the French celebration of Bastille Day [on] July 14,” Picquet said.

Not only will French Restauant Week host a profuse quantity of French cuisine, it will also celebrate its place on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage List. The event unites the Francophone community and revels in French savoir-faire.

“French Restaurant Week allows New Yorkers to savor the highest quality of French cuisine at New York’s best restaurants,” Picquet said.

This year’s talent show specifically celebrates Fête de la Gastronomie in France, taking place on Sept. 22. The theme of this fête, “Terroir and Traditions” — terroir means land or soil — is adopted by this year’s Restaurant Week.

“Restaurants create special menus or dishes to highlight the terroir of French food, that is, the most traditional food of the French culture,” Picquet said.

Participating restaurants include L’aile ou la Cuisse, which offers a menu based on family recipes from chef and owner Romain Bonnans; La Mangeoire, a French country-style restaurant under French Master Chef Christian Delouvrier; new West Village addition Sel et Gras; popular and iconic restaurants like Le Cirque Café, under Chef Olivier Reginensi; and La Promenade des Anglais under chef and owner Alain Allegretti. All restaurants craft prix-fixe menus ranging from $20 to $30, serving lunch and dinner.

Catherine Amsellem and Chef Michel Pombet manage and own Parigot, which restauraunt reservation website Opentable described as “a little taste of Paris right in New York City.” Offering two menus that are available for dinner starting at 5 p.m, the cuisine
reflects the restaurant’s cheerful ambiance. One menu features asparagus vinaigrette and a rabbit and fusilli dish with green olives, mushrooms and tomatoes; the other delivers a Salade Mediterranean with baby arugula, feta, French string beans and black olives, and frog legs Provencales with ratatouille.

Every restaurant will put distinct and unique menus on the table.

“You can find everything in this upcoming week, from foie gras terrine at A.O.C. and tarte flambée at Artisanal, to frog legs at Le Périgord and crepes Suzette at Brasserie Cognac,” Picquet said.

La Bonne Soupe had a live accordion performance to kick off French Restaurant Week on Monday, Sept. 17, and Gaby Restaurant will offer a champagne-paired dinner on Sept. 22, the date of the Fête.

Gallatin sophomore Nadège Giraudet is looking forward to Le Comptoir’s $30 prix-fixe menu: crispy duck leg confit with Pommes Sarladaise, and a mouth-watering chocolate mousse.

“What’s most exciting for me about French Restaurant Week is that it condenses all the dishes I love onto a few menus around the city,” Giraudet said. “Having that available, and more affordable, is great.”

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Sept. 18 print edition. Angel Chang is a contributing writer. Email her at [email protected] 

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NYC celebrates French cuisine with unique eats