Few cities are more food-obsessed than New York, so when we heard that its Cronut and Ramen burger aficionados were lining up for decidedly fancier fare of the French fusion variety, we were curious to see what it was all about. Dirty French, the latest opening by chef Rich Torrisi of Greenwich Village Italian hotspot Carbone, specializes in traditional European dishes with a twist (hence "Dirty" in the name). Take a closer look at the menu offerings and you'll find that staple items like roasted chicken are served with more out-of-the-ordinary buttery crepes. The pork comes with a side of calvados-glazed apples, and mushroom mille-feuille is topped with green curry. Instead of starting off with your standard bread-and-butter plate, each table is given a sizable spongey flatbread with a generous schmear of creamy cheese. Here's what you need to know before making a res:
Swanky. The dining room, set in the Ludlow Hotel on the Lower East Side, seems to get louder and louder as the early-bird crowd exits and the 8:30 and 9:00 waves of customers flood in, cocktails in hand. Toward the end of the night, sounds of all sorts reverberate from table to table, amid pulsating music. One side of the room boasts a wall-length mirror bordered with light bulbs, while another has shelves that display quirky Greek busts.
What to order
This modest but fresh portion of tuna was wonderfully supplemented by two perfectly crisp crepes. Bird's eye chili gave the fish a welcome spicy kick.
Steak au Poivre
The. Most. Tender. Piece. Of. Meat. Ever. Our only wish is that it was bigger, because we never wanted it to end (and it did too soon).
Vegetables are rarely ever something to write home about, so it says something that one of our favorite orders of the night, at the recommendation of our waiter, was the side of cabbage. Expertly cooked through and slathered with butter, it was the ideal counterpart to every main course.
What to wear
Dress to impress. The restaurant starts to feel more like a lounge later on in the evening, and you can always continue imbibing post-dinner at the hotel's lobby bar and garden.
What we love
By the entrance, a florescent pink sign emblazoned with the restaurant's name creates an unmissable light source, whether you're sitting inside or waiting on the street for an open spot.