I first stumbled upon the restaurant Rouge et Blanc with the painter Victoria Neel on our way to see Visconti
's The Leopard at Film Forum
. Searching for a quick bite on MacDougal, the restaurant's street side menu and large windows seemed to beckon us in with and an invitation for something so much more. We were greeted by owner Tom Cregan, who is also a writer and scholar of French literature. A convivial host, Tom told us about his love of Stendhal
as well as the French Vietnamese inspired menu. We were treated to a top notch wine list benefiting from Tom's tenure as a sommelier at Chanterelle as well as some of the most delightful dishes I've enjoyed in recent memory. Chef Matt Rojas, who was previously at Eleven Madison Park, has come up with unique recipes combining French and Asian elements that excite the palate. I've been back many times since my first visit and my particular favorites include the razor clams with charred leek confit, the bone marrow with baby octopus, and the lamb ribs with eggplant roti. The deserts are equally as inventive with Pastry Chef Melissa Chang at the helm. The caramelized foie gras with vanilla bean ice cream as well as the gateau au chocolat with sage oil are desserts that engage a complexity of flavor not found in traditional desserts. The decor evokes a French colonial tavern from 1940's Saigon with a zink bar creating a playful & clubby atmosphere which attracts some art world personalities such as Simon de Pury
and Ed Ruscha
. On a recent evening, art critic Adrian Dannatt was palling around with artist Jay Batlle who was having a surrealist moment channeling the spirit of André Breton.
With the ingredients on the menu changing with the seasons, you'll want to join Breton and make Rouge et Blanc your regular haunt as well!