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In Paris at Buvette

January 31, 2012

7.00PM on the dot on a freezing Friday night.  I open the door to Buvette upon my coworker’s recommendation with a heightened expectation.  The room is already full of patrons with a couple waiting for a table with glasses of wine in hand by the window.  I check in with the waiter/host (a dead ringer for Jake Gyllenhaal) and snatch the last open stool by the other side of the door to wait for JL.

The space  is tight with only a few small table tops available outside of a large granite bar where sharply dressed waiters churn out small plates and pour glass after glass of wine.  The room emits a warm glow and buzzes with lively conversation and gentle clinks of wine glasses and silver ware.  Every little detail, from the date stamped menu and the cocktail/wine booklet to the little basket of unshelled nuts, is warm and inviting and begs for you to enjoy a glass and make yourself comfortable.

A glass of white wine and thirty minutes later, finally a seat for two.  The menu is dotted with French classics, including the obligatory charcuterie and formage section.  A trio of the charcuterie selection to start.

I lick the plate clean of the oxtail marmalade, a beautiful combination of savory and sweet.  The soft and unctuous marmalade soaks through the thick toast, softening it to a chewy yet still crunchy vessel.  The duck rillette and chicken liver portions are generous and we struggle just a little touch to finish.  The three plates are so rich that we reluctantly flag down the waiter to cancel a dish, a steamed bowl of mussels.

Our next course, sans the mussels, is a much lighter selection.  The octopus salad is very tender but veers on the salty side with generously scattered capers and green olive slices.  Even though poached leeks may sound a bit simple, the flavors are much more complex than the name suggests.  The creamy mustard vinaigrette adds a sharp tang to the sweet leeks, which is fork tender.  I think this might become a staple for my subsequent visits.

Even though we were too full to accommodate the third main dish, we miraculously find room for dessert.  The night’s selection at Buvette consists of tarte tatin and chocolate mousse.  Given my recent new found affinity for non chocolate desserts, my vote naturally go to the tarte tatin.  It is a very wise choice.  The caramelized tender apple halves sit on top a buttery flaky crust.  I eagerly dig my fork into the tarte tatin.  A tang from the creme fraiche offers a refreshing lift to the apple tart, cutting the honey sweetness of the apples.   The first bite, as well as the numerous others I helplessly continue to devour, brings me right back to Paris and that apple tart from Poilane.  I think we are half way there if I close my eyes for a second and just listen to the humming of conversation of others who are also equally enjoying their time at Buvette.

Buvette | 42 Grove Street  New York, NY 10014 | http://www.ilovebuvette.com/

One Comment leave one →
  1. February 3, 2012 10.24 pm

    We’ve got to go back. I’m craving the chicken liver pate

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