- scene: Dark wood and neon and pops of color throughout make the space very cool; more explicitly hip than their other spots
- sip: Whatever you want, si vous plait
- savor: Grilled oysters; tuna tartare; black bass en papillote; mushrooms
- sit: On a date for major coolness points as long as you don't order like a wimp; with a few couples; with your foodie friend
- spend: $$$
- address: 180 Ludlow Street (Between Houston and Stanton)
- phone number: (212) 254-3000
- website: dirtyfrench.com
Bonjour mes amours, its time to get the last of that summer sand out of your hair and shake off your fashion week hangover ( drinking is always in fashion, FYI) and get back on that hamster wheel that is the restaurant scene in New York City. Riding high on the success of, well everything they have ever touched, the Torrisi/Carbone (Major Food Group) crew has opened Dirty French, which turns their keen sense of coolness and culinary prowness away from Italian food (and whatever you consider ZZ’s Clam to be) and focuses it squarely on all things Gallic. Located in the Ludlow Hotel, Dirty French is by far the sceneist of the their joints, with a large bar area, some neon signs and hot pink chicks all around, but also the most outwardly inclusive- it is larger in size and does not have a doorman. The no frills vibe of Torrissi and Parm and the studied old school meets new school formality of Carbone are totally different from Dirty French, but the jamming playlists remain the same. This is already the place that everyone is talking about, due to the endless amounts of friends and family events, etc, so get that reservation if you haven’t already.
We are a little biased because we love red sauce Italian more than anything in the world, and truly dig the way that Torrisi/Carbone have unironically played homage to the foods we grew up with, creating masterpieces with fresh ingredients including nostalgia and respect. Dirty French is a French menu like you have never seen before, and although there is some shtick (oyster presentation, chicken leg horror movie), everything we ate was truly enjoyable. Dirty French is a restaurant that took a French bistro and tousled its hair a little bit. Bottom line: This is a cool place for a fantastic meal, but to me it lacked that one crave- worthy dish that make me return to Dirty French over some other places. The service was friendly and knowledgable, especially the sommelier who was charming in his overflowing abundance of enthusiasm. We had a slight glitch with a deer in the headlights hostess that was quickly remedied by someone a little more competent. So, here are the dirty details…
First you are given a light, airy bread with a cheese spread that is beyond heavenly- it must be baked in a special oven because it is so light and fluffy…we were more than happy to rip into the bread with our hands and spread on the cheese, but the fuddy duddies next to us could not believe that they were encouraged to use their hands…
“Surf and Turf” – the waiter presents all of the fresh oysters table-side, and in addition explains the grilled oysters, which are prepared in a garlic sauce like escargot, and also talks about the cured hams (the turf) that are available…the grilled oysters were a fun little party, topped with what tasted like creamed spinach and some garlic kick.
Tuna tartare- great seasoning and spice, did not overpower or mask the flavor of the tuna but strong; the large wafer type thing was a cool consistency and this dish was sort of fun to eat, a nice departure from a crumbly cracker
Note: We did NOT get the chicken crepes for two because we wanted to order as many dishes as possible; we know that we will have to return to try this dish…
Duck: The rotisserie duck is as good as duck gets, full of flavor and juicy skin. A pretty straight forward and huge dish, with a sweet sauce and preserved oranges. ( see main image).
Black bass en papillote with clams and harrisa cornichons- cooked perfectly, moist and just a very well executed dish all around. Every flavor complemented the fish and the textures were interesting. The presentation was also very appealing.
Oh the sides! These are not be-sides the point (ha ha) at all, they were pretty spectacular- pommes frites with crunch and a creamy dipping sauce, and mushrooms so buttery and flavorful you forget they are good for you.
Key lime pie dessert, make it happen…the meringue nipples were sensational and the whole dessert was refreshing and lovely…
WAIT- did I mention the knives? The knives were so cool, bright handles and customized with Dirty French logo, these beauties were definitely expensive and are definitely going to get stolen…I loved my pink one, packed the right amount of punch and whimsy, I will cut a bitch ( I actually just cut a duck).
Dirty French is cool…so pardon your French and go check it out, if you can get in…