Reviewing his first female chef in 2018, Times critic Pete Wells drops a very positive two stars on French all-day cafe La Mercerie in Soho. The fashiony cafe, where literally everything is for sale as a sort of living showroom for Roman & Williams, has been open since December, but only serving dinner now for two months.
Wells raves about nearly everything chef Marie-Aude Rose — plucked from popular Paris restaurant Spring by operator Starr Restaurants — makes, from the salads to the omelets to the pastries, and admits that “most things are so precisely as they should be that it is hard to find fault.” Some of his favorite dishes include the toast soldiers for dunking in a soft-cooked egg, “tender” cheese omelet, “great” niçoise salad, and crunchy crepes au sucre.
Wells especially digs Rose’s way with pastry:
Ms. Rose’s pastries are already some of the finest in the city. Croissants have crisp whorls on top that you can count like tree rings; the savory ones are filled with ham and Comté, or broccoli and cherry tomatoes in custard, which may not sound good but is.
More exotic is the tourteau fromagé, a palm-size cheesecake with a blackened, domed top. Born in Poitou-Charentes, it looks something like a Boston cream doughnut, but its interior is a moist, fine-crumbed cake that tastes, just barely, of fresh goat cheese. Ms. Rose serves it with a poached apricot in star-anise syrup. If you are a serious pastry watcher, you will want to add it to your life list.
Of those mini faults he is able to find, he notes that the boeuf bourguignon sauce was too thin, and that buckwheat crepe on top of the creamed chicken was too crisp. Two stars.