The Rosemary's team opened their South of France-inspired restaurant Claudette just north of Washington Square park earlier this summer and it's been tough to get a table since. Koren Grieveson, a vet of Avec in Chicago, teamed up with Rosemary's chef Wade Moises for the project, and now turns out a Provencal menu with North African touches. While the service isn't consistent quite yet, diners and critics are mostly charmed by the menu and space, which most agree has taken a turn for the better. Here's what diners are saying about the good, the bad, and the tagine at Claudette:
The What to Order News: Critics love the pieds paquets, a recipe that comes from the restaurant's namesake Claudette Sammut. Voice critic Zachary Feldman describes the dish: "The bundles of tripe-wrapped pork shoulder bob in a white-wine tomato broth dotted with roughly cut mirepoix. It hardly resembles the much-derided organ meat I've come to love for its sci-fi appearance...Stretched, rolled into bundles, then browned in the oven, this tripe was as hearty as I'd expected, but lively, too, and almost...graceful."
The Tagine News: Less adventurous diners, or those wanting a taste of the more North African side of Grievenson's menu are mightily happy with the chicken tagine. "The chicken tagine was OUT OF THIS WORLD.... fall-off-the-bone tender, hearty, citrus, exotic... it was everything," says one Yelper. It "has a lovely sweet undertone," says a Foursquare reviewer. And "...plan on taking half of it home with [you]," adds another.
The Service News: Diners are reporting mixed results when it comes to service. While some say it is lovely and intimate one Yelper complains that the hostess said "Oh sorry I completely forgot about you... give me 5 minutes you should be set up." Adding: "My friend and I have ordered a bottle of Bandol ($90... it is rose guys!)...we [had] to ask multiple times to get our glasses refilled... same with the water." Another notes: "Service was polite, but not involved. At a restaurant this tiny, you'd think that would be the opposite. It wasn't the warmth I'd have expected."
The Drinks News: While the wine menu is "merciful, with several choices among whites and reds in the $30-to-$50 range — a notable bargain in this spendy neighborhood," according to the Village Voice's Feldman, the cocktails from Seth Liebman shouldn't be overlooked. "Liebman deserves another resounding round of applause for his masterful list of aperitifs, which utilize bitter liqueurs in truly refreshing ways for $10 apiece. Even among these, the "Pia," a mercurial stirring of Campari, Dubonnet, and Esprit de June (a liqueur made from grapevine flowers), stands out."
The "Did I get on a plane to Provence?" News: The former Cru space was thought by many to be cursed. But "Instead of fighting the room's powerfully bad feng shui," owner Carlos Suarez "wisely opted to change it," writes Adam Platt. "Dark wicker chairs offset an airy, whitewashed room, and up front there's walk-in seating and a white marble bar that pays homage to the Sammuts' homeland as evocatively as the Washington Arch does to the Arc de Triomphe," says Feldman. And on Yelp, another adds: "If Claudette was not in Manhattan, you would think that you have landed somewhere in the South of France....maybe in St Tropez, or Nice....or Cannes."
The Sweet News: "Save room for the toppling little pistachio cake, which is scattered with candied orange peel and layered with a smooth deposit of whipped cream," warns Adam Platt.
The Date Night Situation: One Yelper offers, "For boys, if you really like the girl, and it's your first or second date, you are on the mission to impress but don't think your relationship has developed to the stage to dine at a Michelin three-star yet, this place could be a perfect spot for you."
· All Coverage of Claudette [~ENY~]