Keith McNally brings a new meaning to "Cherche Midi" in New York City. Cherche Midi is most commonly known as a French Military prison or the street name where McNally lived in Paris, France. However, this Cherche Midi is serving the opposite of prison food. The menu encompasses fine dining French Cuisine, with both adventurous and classic items on the menu, appealing to a variety of palates and preferences. Since this was my first time dining at the newly opened establishment, I stuck with the "must try items".
1. Prime Rib Burger topped with bacon marmalade, roasted mushrooms, aged gruyère cheese and pommes frites: The Pat LaFrieda blend of meat is specially designed for the Cherche Midi Prime Rib Burger. This burger has already gained groupies in the NYC dining scene and has been compared to the notorious Black Label Burger at Minetta Tavern. The burgers are both pretty darn delicious. It may just be my personal taste, but the bacon marmalade overpowered the burger itself. Because of this, the Black Label Burger takes the crown for me. When tasted without the marmalade, I enjoyed it much more and would order it again! Worth the hype!
2. Filet Mignon Au Poivre: Tender, flavorful and the perfect size. Enough said! This was quality steak done right. The seasoning was the perfect balance of letting the steak's natural beauty shine and enhancing it's flavors.
3. Bouchot Mussels in a basil broth with broccolini and lemon confit: Juicy and plump mussels accompanied by a broth that was to die for. Perfect for dipping your extra bread into!
4. Roasted Cauliflower with sauce gribiche: What a hunk! (a hunk of cauliflower I mean). Wow!! The cauliflower is aesthetically pleasing when it comes to the table and a tasty vegetable for sharing. It was on the crunchier side, amplifying the bite factor. The creamy vegan lentil mayo contrasted the vegetable extremely well. By the end of the meal I was dipping my fries in the left over sauce!
5. Dessert Cheese Platter: When a waiter walks over to me with a whole tray of unique cheeses and informs me that they could all be mine, it seems too good to be true. Cheese is my one true love and if I could eat it for an appetizer, entree and dessert I would. This was divine and transported me to a bistro in France.
6. Ile Flottante: Meringue floating on creme anglaise (vanilla custard) with a caramel sugar twill on top. The crisp flavors are representative of the small amount of five ingredients used. Although I am not usually a dessert person, this was delicious and not too sweet. If the dessert could be improved at all, I would suggest for it to be served a bit colder.
Other restaurants in the Bowery and of French cuisine should keep an eye on Cherche Midi. The food, service and ambiance proved that the establishment is there to stay. Cherche Midi has the potential to become one of Keith McNally's classic powerhouses. I will happily be an inmate at Cherche Midi any day!