Our evening could have been tarred by the construction crew across the street, chemical fumes do not add much to one's dinner experience, thankfully they wrapped up their day a few minutes after our arrival.
Last night, I took a couple of hours to relax and get a taste of Cote d'Or, a week young New York restaurant has to offer.
As a good omen, the rain that fell most of the day decided to stop.
After sitting down and perusing at the wines by the glass ( I don't really do cocktails), I settled for a glass of Cremant de Bourgogne and sparkling water.
Before placing our order for starters, crusty bread and grougeres were brought to the table with rillettes and cornichons, a campagnard touch.
For first course, my dinner companion and I picked classic escargots (parsley butter sauce), a pike and vegetable quenelle and frogs legs which I have not eaten in a`long while. All offered a good balance of flavors. Classic food does not revolutionize but warms the soul.
Chef Philippe Roussel (a Breton like myself) who was kind enough to stop by our table has the good sense of keeping the size of the first courses in check so you do not fill up on them.
The escargots are cooked and served in a cassolette that makes the dish look as good as it tasted.
Being the only one to drink wine, I had a glass of White Burgundy (you know Chardonnay) with this course, Olivier Leflaive "Les Setilles" (2005).
After getting advice from the unobtrusive yet attentive and knowledgeable serveuse, the choice of entrees was Veal skirt steak with mixed greens, French fries, mustard and natural jus for yours truly and Grilled Trout, green lentils and vegetables ragout and Dijon violets mustard.
The Veal arrived a tender perfect medium rare. The tangy mustard sauce offering a nice counterpoint to it. The fries did not do justice to the dish and the mixed greens were a repetition from those offered with the Frogs Legs earlier. Mind you, despite these reservations, I was content.
As for the Trout, it was cooked as should be. Lentils and vegetables offered all the taste and health quotient desired by my dinner partner.
I sipped a glass of Mercurey 1er Cru "Clos Voyens", Isabel Marie (2003) with my main dish.
At this point, we should have been reasonable and stop. The waitress convinced us to try the Tarte Cassis. I could not resist the Ginger Creme Brulee and a little Cinnamon Ice Cream completed the trio.
The tart was good, the Ginger Creme Brulee perfect as was the Cinnamon Ice Cream, subtle and refreshing.
They are still working out a few details, after all this child is only a few days old.
All in all a very satisfying experience except for the fries and the repetitive mixed greens.
The restaurant was originally supposed to be called Charolais. They changed the name late in the game so for now there is no web site that you can visit for menus, directions and the like.
This should be corrected soon.
The wine list is extensive and mostly Burgundian. I did notice a few of my favorite California wineries such as Paul Hobbs and Peter Michael though.
Treat yourself to an authentic Kir Royal made with Aligote and L'heritier Guyot Creme de Cassis.
This New York Eaterie, Cote d'Or is located in Tribeca at 225 Varick St., at Clarkson St (phone: 212-727-2775).
Take the number 1 subway train to Houston Street and you are only a block away.
On a closing note, the front of the house has some kinks of its own to work out it seems.
While browsing the opening notices, I noticed that Florence Fabrikant of the New York Times mentioned a 15% opening discount on Food until July 29. I believe we were only given 10%.
A small misstep considering the whole experience.
So if you live in New York, love things French or just good wine and cuisine visit Cote d'Or.
Beats Monday Night Football for me!
You might ask who Jane is. Not Jane Birkin. Jane is the wonderful waitress whose service we were lucky to get.
My wife was my dinner companion.
Bonne chance Cote d'Or.
Photo courtesy of Kyle Erin Schmitz