- scene: Aims to be like a spot on the Rivieria, but the references are more literal than they should be; large open room with a small bar
- sip: Rose by the quartino
- savor: Soup de poisson; trofie with tuna; croque monsieur
- sit: With anyone really- a large group of ladies for lunch; on a double date; with parents
- spend: $$$
- address: 461 West 23rd Street
- phone number: (212) 255-7400
- website: www.lapromenadenyc.com
The Pants took a Sistermoon to the South of France last summer, and while our days were filled with sun, spf, and sips of rose, we also had a bigger goal on our mind: Soup de poisson. The traditional provencal fish soup is a favorite of Sister’s, and although we were able to snag amazing Chanel flats not available in the US, our trip would not really have been complete if it were not filled with huge bowls of fishy broth, and endless croutons of roux and cheese. In Cannes we were able to sample some amazing versions of soup de poisson at Vesuvio and more impressively at Fred L’Ecollier, but in NYC there is truly only one chef to turn to: Alain Allegretti.
The short lived Allegretti on 22nd street was a service disaster (I once had an entire sticky martini spilled down the back of my white sundress), but the soup was worth the hassle- I mean, what is French and authentic without being rude? When we heard that Allegretti was heading to the shuttered Bette space we experienced a range of emotions: our nostalgia for the spot were we spent many nights in our early NYC days was only quelled by thoughts of bowls of fishy goodness. Sometimes, change is good.
La Promenade des Anglais aims to bring the Riviera to the Hudson, with a French menu that exhibits more coastal influences than the typical Paris bistro-inspired places we love (Balthazar, Le Singe Vert, et). The decor is slightly misguided, meant to evoke a South of France seaside promenade with a rambling mural on the ceiling. The bar area is a little small and sort of runs into the dining room, but the room is open and pleasant. Anyway, the menu is divided into many categories, including “for the table” snacks, which all sound delicious. The menu changes very little between dinner and lunch, and thankfully the fish soup is available during both meals.
The soup arrives with two croutons already portioned with roux and thickly shredded cheese, on the side for your dunking pleasure. We prefer when the roux, croutons and cheese are all presented separately to allow for everyone to adjust their own proportions and create their own perfect bite. At La Promenade we always ask for extra croutons; the roux and cheese are done in correct amounts, and the croutons are just substantial enough to soak up the broth for a few minutes without breaking, but soft enough to allow for non-messy bites or to be cut with the spoon. The fish soup is in a word- perfect-absolutely transporting to the South of France through the flavor, consistency and appearance.
For us the fish soup is reason enough to return to La Promenade, but there are several other delicious items, including a truly one of a kind crocque. This completely non-traditional take on the sandwich seemed sort of like a chicken cordon bleu withouth the chicken: the ham, cheese, bechamel and bread are rolled into a rollatini type item, with layers of each apparent. The whole thing is then pan-fried, creating a crunchy breaded exterior. It is served with a sunny-side up egg on the side, and it is not entirely clear what you are supposed to do with it, we left ours untouched.
A glass of rose completes the South of France experience, and thankfully this is all priced in dollars, not Euros, making it a much cheaper option than flying for the real deal. However, should you make the journey, find us on the Hotel Martinez dock, second row on the right…