Tag Archives: Frites

Chez Jef at the Bowery Diner

5 May

I love using the Eater Heatmap to find new places to try with friends and family.  I’m a big fan of the curated restaurant review lists, and Eater never disappoints (even if they hate my blog name… but I can take it). We were looking for a place to go with my cousins and stumbled upon their recommendation for Chez Jef, which is a pop-up in the Bowery Diner space from Chef Mathieu Palombino.

I was amused as we came upon the address to see that the “Jef” was a clever way of changing the old “DINER” sign.


Inside, it is certainly French Bistro.


(It was a bit dark inside, so please excuse the not so great photos.)

The bread came out and it was a fine crusty bread but with a very cold and hard slab of salted butter.


We did enjoy the wine selection very much.


We started with some raw oysters, which were a hit for all.



The menu has an incredibly well priced 3-course prix fixe for $35, but we were so curious about many things on the menu that we all ordered a la carte (which was still very well valued).

The french onion soup was fantastic, which a great blend of gruyere cheese and sweet onions.  I always prefer more crispy cheese on the outside of my bowl, but it was still damn good.


I chose to start with the steamed artichoke vinaigrette, because steamed artichokes are one of my favorite foods of all time.


This was displayed very well, and with a really, really good dipping sauce.  The artichoke itself was well cooked but it suffered from the artichoke curse of some being great, and some being just average.  It’s a temperamental vegetable. Sadly.


Mike went with the salade verte with vinaigrette, which, despite this awful picture, was quite tasty with an awesome dressing.


For my main, I chose the lamb “navarin” with spring vegetables.  The waiter explained it as being like a stew, so I was all over it.  The plate that came out was a bit weird though.  A white salad plate with a small (but filling) serving. Had it been served in a bowl, it would have looked much better, but I absolutely couldn’t fault the flavor. It was absolutely delicious with tender, flavorful lamb pieces, a nice, not to heavy sauce, and well cooked simple vegetables, including some fantastic pearl onions.


One person at the table got the mussels mariniére with frites.  She really enjoyed them.


Mike went with the steak grillé and frites with béarnaise.  The steak was well cooked and had great flavor and it was excellent with the béarnaise.  But those frites… wow!  I could not stop eating them right off of Mike’s plate. They were perfect.  Crispy on the outside while still potato-y.


Then for dessert, we had to try the Crème Brûlée.  It was exceptional.  Smooth, vanilla-y custard with a perfectly sweet, but not too sweet, crispy brulee on top.  Super duper.


Overall, our meal at Chez Jef was really spectacular.  Everything had great flavor and it reminded me of being in Paris. The entire meal came to less than $50 per person, which seemed like an excellent value for sharing a bottle of wine, shared oysters, an app each, an entree each, and then splitting a dessert between 4 of us.

Not sure how long this pop-up is going to be around, however, the $35 prix fixe sure seams like a steal if you’re in the mood for some good French food!

Total Nom Points: 7.5 out of 10

Total Nom Points: 7.5 out of 10


Honeymoon: Sonoma, CA – The Girl and the Fig

15 Aug

After our pretty epic meal at The French Laundry, we took the day pretty easy and relaxed on the porch of a winery (in our new favorite wine AVA: Lost Carneros).  We then went into the town of Sonoma and decided that it was time for a break from being tourists and went to see a movie (Monsters University to be exact).  Even though our earlier meal was amazing, by the time 9pm rolled around, we found ourselves a bit in need of some more food.

A friend had recommended The Girl & The Fig, and since it was right in town, we went for it.



We wound up sitting in the patio out back, which was quite lovely. (Except the sun was setting, so the pictures aren’t all that great… apologies in advance)


I really enjoyed the whimsical decorations.


Every table was set with olives and these… things… (still not positive what exactly they are… anyone know?)


And, of course, what is a honeymoon meal without some good alcohol?  I got the fig kiss and I absolutely loved it.  It was made with figcello di sonoma, st~germain elderflower liqueur, and cranberry juice. Not too sweet and a nice way to end a great day.


We began with the pastis-scented steamed mussels with frites: garlic, leeks, herbs, grilled bread.   These were good but not overly memorable.


Though the fries were perfectly crispy and seasoned very well.


I started with the soup of the day. And what it was? I cannot recall. But I remember it was earthy and very good.


Mike got the burger with a farm egg on top.  The burger itself was very well cooked and seasoned and had great flavor. The egg on top pushed the burger up a notch.


I went with the duck confit (anyone have a count on the number of times I ordered confit during this honeymoon?)  It came with spinach spaetzle, red pearl onions, carrots, and walnut vinaigrette.  This was a very, very good confit with a nice crisp skin and delicate flavors.  The accompanying spaetzle, onions, and carrots all went very well with the duck.


Our meal here was great, but after all we had over the previous 2 weeks, and the earlier tasting menu, it seems to have washed into a blur.

I would absolutely go back if (when) I’m in the area again.

Total Nom Points: 7 out of 10

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Mussels and Beer at Landmarc… For Free!

30 Dec

I know a lot of people say they don’t win anything… but I mean it.  Until this year.  I’ve been lucky in little drawings, winning dinners from FoodBuzz, and then with signing up for Circle of Taste with The Time Warner Center.  The first thing I won (yes… even more than one!) was a Mussel and Beer tasting at Landmarc.  The discription was completely vague so we had no idea what we were in for. 

Our tasting was to begin promptly at 9 and we were sat at a very low table with other winners.  The menu looked good. We could choose two mussel preparations and two beers from their list.

We could choose from light or dark beer from St. Bernadus.  I chose light, Mike chose dark.  Mine was good…

But Mike’s was GREAT.  Full, wonderful flavor. One of the best beers I’ve ever had.

We assumed we’d get a bite or two of each mussel preparation, however, they gave us HUGE tereens.  Each were a meal in itself but we got two.  And they were heavenly…

And they came with (delicious) frites!

And then… DESSERT!

This meal was SO good even if we paid for it.  Next time I know of someone that loves mussles, this is where I’m taking them.  We also got phenomenol service throughout and I was very impressed.  Their bar is very nice too.  If you need somewhere to bring a date… I think this place would be a total winner.