Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Bagatelle | MeatPacking District | Manhattan

 
Bagatelle, from the Italian word bagattella, meaning 'a trifle', many refer to the extravagant party thrown in Louis XVI's honor, which we're sure this restaurant was founded upon. The NYC flagship location (Las Vegas, Miami are also worth mentioning) is centered in the heart of Meatpacking District (MePa) and widely known for their over-the-top champagne brunches and vibrant nightclub atmosphere. However, it's the menu that often goes overlooked by many when they dine and we give you the scoop, perhaps befitting our own tagline.


Bagatelle (Exterior) - 1 Little W.12th St.
Bagatelle (Exterior) - 1 Little W.12th St.
Remi Laba, the founder and co-owner of Bagatelle, is the genius behind this upscale hospitality business that moved into the space in the Fall of 2011. What was evident was the need to bring renewed focus to the restaurant itself in 2013, necessitating the help of renowned Chef S茅bastien Chamaret, whose tenure includes time at La Belle Epoque in Versailles, and Daniel by Daniel Boulud.
Dining Area
Dining Area
Fun. Crazy. Nightclub. Add fine dining for large groups back into the fold, and this is where you'll find patrons and celebrities alike.  We stopped in on what should be an otherwise calm weeknight and were greeted by the fun atmosphere that perpetuates this restaurant all night and all year 'round. We were greeted warmly by the hosts awaiting us at the door, and of course, patrons can choose to sit in the confines of the spacious and lavish dining/banquet area or dine al fresco along the closed off street that is 9th Ave.

Salade Bagatelle: hearts of lettuce, Parmesan cheese, fresh garden herbs, mustard vinaigrette
Salade Bagatelle
For starters, we began with the Salade Bagatelle which includes hearts of lettuce, Parmesan cheese, fresh garden herbs and topped with a mustard vinaigrette. The obligatory twist of pepper is offered by the waiter, if desired. Light, refreshing and spot-on.

Gnocchi Truff茅s 脿 la Parisienne de Nicolas
Gnocchi Truff茅s 脿 la Parisienne de Nicolas
A bevy of dishes arrived after our salad, among them were the Gnocchi Truff茅s 脿 la Parisienne de Nicolas, an otherwise homemade gnocchi with a black truffle pesto filling and truffle sauce. If you love truffle oil, this must be one of the dishes that beckons you. Simple, elegant, and to the point, the gnocchi melts in your mouth with a nice creamy texture that permeates with truffle in every bite.

Pizza 脿 la Truffe Noire
Pizza 脿 la Truffe Noire
Next up we have the Pizza 脿 la Truffe Noire, which, obviously includes black truffle on top of a flat bread, infused with cr猫me fraiche, and scamorza, an Italian cheese similar to mozzarella that should see more light of day. As we're more than pizza fanatics, we're certainly happy to try it as I'm sure it'll pique the interest of anyone who sees it on the menu.  The scamorza adds smokier depth of flavor, sharpness, and more chew, compared to what one would find on pizzas with mozzarella (it's blander sibling). Certainly a fun contrast to the dishes offered, but I'll point out that the black truffle flavor is also pervasive in the taste throughout the pizza.

Tartare de Thon
Tartare de Thon
Tartare de Thon Bagatelle, is a Yellow fin tuna tartar, topped with avocado, cilantro, citrus-lime soy vinaigrette, taro chips.  It's a light, albeit raw dish that suitable for the summer months.  Although I had not built an affinity towards it, tuna fans are sure to be at home with this one.

Hamachi tartare
Hamachi tartare
Hamachi tartare was the dish that brought intrigue to the table.  The raw fish is served up with adornments of black crispy rice, and sriracha mayo around the perimeter.  I typically have hamachi as sushi (otherwise known as yellowtail tuna) and although having it served up as a tartare isn't a dish I'd normally order, I'm actually glad to try it as this turned out to be one amongst the favorites of the night.  Much like the ahi tuna tartare, it was light, but sweeter, the accoutrements surrounding the fish was what brought out the character of hamachi. The presentation, in this case was a nice touch.

A side of mixed mushrooms complemented the next dish of meat
A side of mixed mushrooms complemented the next dish of meat
Ch芒teaubriand - tenderloin flanked by sauces and pur茅e
Ch芒teaubriand - tenderloin flanked by sauces and pur茅e
Ch芒teaubriand is a 24oz. center cut beef tenderloin, that comes with a bowl of truffle potato pur茅e, and sauce bowls of red wine and peppercorn sauce. As it were, this dish is meant for two but can easily be shared amongst the table. While little different from filet mignon (which is also tenderloin), the addition of sauces and presentation makes for an impressive display. Understandably, as tenderloin has less fat content, it is also less juicier than other steak counterparts, hence the need for sauces to complement the beef. As a steak purist, you'll be happy to know that the beef received little seasoning, which at most amounts to a touch of salt. Either way, whether you choose to have it with the accompaniments, no one will judge you, but the truffle pur茅e is definitely worth having.

Poulet R么ti Entier 脿 la Truffe
Poulet R么ti Entier 脿 la Truffe
Enter the Poulet R么ti Entier 脿 la Truffe, which is a rotisserie chicken, whole and truffled, served up country style amid potatoes and chicken jus.  This too is meant for two or shared as a group. Although the Peruvians are the ones to look to for fabulous rotisserie, Bagatelle inimitably does things one better in the one way they know how. Truffle, truffle, truffle.  Oh, and of course, butter. The chicken is fall-off-the-bone good and basking in its own juices.

Coquilles Saint-Jacques R么ties
Coquilles Saint-Jacques R么ties
Coquilles Saint-Jacques R么ties are Maine Diver Scallops, which are complemented by potato croquettes, and chipotle-chorizo chimichurri. Seared brown to perfection, scallops are already the ocean's filet mignon (to me anyway). Meaty and flavorful, these chunks of heaven are heightened by the chimichurri, which I thought was brilliant. Normally, they'd complement pork and poultry well atypical of South-American cuisine, but Chef S茅bastien injects it into seafood with absolute finesse.

Among the items not pictured due to lighting issues were the pan-seared halibut, which comes with fingerling potatoes, and a hazelnut fava bean salsa, as well as a Calamari risotto, which comes with a saffron cake, and a squid ink vinaigrette.

2010 Crozes-Hermitage Paul Jaboulet A卯n茅
Notably, the restaurant presented us with a nice red wine from the Rh么ne region, which paired well with the red meat of the Ch芒teaubriand.

No dinner would be complete without a trio of desserts to stuff an otherwise stuffed party of six, we have:
Tarte tatin 脿 la pomme
Tarte tatin 脿 la pomme
Tarte tatin 脿 la pomme, a warm apple tart served upside down, and caramelized in sugar and butter before being baked. This is complemented by vanilla ice cream to provide some contrast to an already sweet plate.

mousse au chocolat noir
Mousse au chocolat noir
If apple tart isn't to your liking, there's certainly many a fan favorite in mousse au chocolat noir. Let's face it, who doesn't like dark chocolate?  I've never been one for desserts that have the consistency of pudding but mousse eats more like a meal and in this case comes texturally closest to greek yogurt (or vice versa).  Velvety and thick, it is the ultimate expression of chocolately decadence, short of scarfing down a 1lb. bar in one sitting.  The garnishes adds a bit of pomp & flair and we're all for that.

Cr猫me br没l茅e aux framboises
Cr猫me br没l茅e aux framboises
If you had to skip out on desserts, please let it not be when Cr猫me br没l茅e aux framboises is served. In this case, it's cr猫me br没l茅e infused with raspberries. It along with the chocolate mousse are my top pics in the dessert menu. Don't leave the restaurant without it. Coincidentally, the salted chocolate cookies that accompany this plate are reminiscent of my absolute favorite (shortbread) diamond cookies from Mille-Feuille.

Mega Sundae
Mega Sundae
As a surprise for being good sports for patronizing Bagatelle, we were treated with one of the most ostentatious desserts on the menu, the Mega Sundae.  It's one of NYC's top shareable desserts.  It comes with no less than four scoops of Neapolitan ice cream, fudge brownies, br没l茅ed bananas, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, marshmallows, chocolate meringue, and of course whipped cream served on a gigantic martini glass meant for Andre the Giant. diabeetus, anyone? All told, the six of us tore into it with deft and agility.  We were told we fared far better than many others have in the past. Leave it to dessert freaks like us to invite glucose into our bodies. It was very good.

If you thought this was over the top, then I bet you haven't heard about the $1,000 Mauboussin Mega Sundae.

It was a fun-filled evening, and although the ambient music played far louder than conversation level, it was appropriate and projects the jovial nature of this day/night hotspot.  While certainly great for large, spendy groups, it will do nicely for couples in the area looking specifically for fine dining and appreciate lively ambiance. 4.8/5.0

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Bagatelle
1 Little W 12th St
New York, NY 10014 
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Disclaimer: This a media invite by the restaurant's management.

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