A holiday weekend! It was Thursday night and A+K had a clear Friday schedule with no work and sleeping in on our agenda. Sadly L+M didn’t have that luxury, both having full early morning schedules. We would miss them, but there was no way that the girls could pass up an opportunity such as this. It was spring, beautiful outside, and downtown was calling our name. Fully knowing the potential that this even held, A took the train in to meet K, wanting no part of the late night drive home. K had spent the day perusing the streets, lunching and shopping, having had Thursday off (A was very jealous that she couldn’t have been there!). The two met on the street corner outside of the 14th Street subway station. Tonight, we focused our attention on the swanky and absolutely adorable little nook that is the Meatpacking District. Home to so many hotspots in one little area; one can brunch at The Standard, picnic at the Highline, party at Kiss and Fly and then sleep it off at The Gansevoort, and never walk more than a couple of blocks in any direction. Tonight we were tackling Paradou, the famous lady killer. The brunch here has gone down in infamy with endlessly flowing cocktails… and everyone knows that ladies love to brunch! Little did we know that this place goes heavy on the booze for dinner as well.
We dined in the ‘garden’ on our visit, which houses the majority of the seating in this cozy little sanctuary. Still a bit chilly at night, we welcomed the tented and heated garden area, complete with chandeliers and electronic mood music. The menu is French and we had absolutely no problem picking out some super delish dishes like the Quack x Quack (Duck two ways) and the Terrine Provençal. But what is a fabulous, French, candlelit meal without a lovely little cocktail to wash it down!? The martini menu will make a girl’s head spin! Decisions, decisions! Tons of champagne and speciality liqueur influenced creations make choosing so tough. A+K sampled two and then ordered up a pitcher…. That’s right, a pitcher of martinis! Who the heck offers an entire pitcher of martinis! This place is fabulous!
Well, this definitely marked the ‘beginning’ of the night. An entire carafe kept us in our seats for hours, chatting and yapping and carrying on… with each other, and then eventually the staff, as the place cleared out and we sat alone in the garden. After our glasses were empty, we decided that it was time to head out, not wanting to keep the staff any longer. However, by no means were we heading home. With our men sleeping, there was no one to regulate our fun and tell us it was time to go… And so, on to the next venue!
Directly across the street lies another legend of the area, Pastis. A larger and more formal French bistro, this place was bustling when we arrived at about 1 am. The dinner crowd was in the midst of emptying out, but the bar was mobbed! After some calculated maneuvering, we secured a spot at the bar. It was obvious that our drink selections had to be French influenced, so we went with the Kir Royale. As we sipped and chatted with our bar neighbors, we realized that we were still sort of hungry, having eaten dinner so long before. There was no way we couldn’t order a Croque Madame as a little late night snack! It amazingly hit the spot.
As the place died down, we realized that it was time to move along, as again, the staff was packing up. It was about 4 am (how the heck did it get to be so late!) and we were torn on what to do next. As we exited the bistro we realized that the streets were still full of action. Hmmm. We assessed the situation. We had no regulators. It was so nice outside. There was still fun to be had. Of course the answer involved another destination. Onward!
Of course K, possessing an immense knowledge of action packed spots, knew just the place. We walked through the streets giggling (a lot). K spoke in French to every person we passed and we arrived at our final spot of the evening, The Spotted Pig. A completely different venue than the last two, we entered the dark space and took a seat at the bar. The place was quiet, with minimal patrons. We ordered two Dark and Stormys and did a recap. Over a pitcher of martinis we had planned tons more 2 Plus 2 outings, mapped out our summer trip to the south of France, and left even better friends than when we had gone in. We departed into the night on our ‘yellow cab chariot’ who delivered us back to K’s doorstep in Queens. *Sigh* The magic of New York City.
Dinner and Drinks- A+K
Paradou8 Little West 12th Street NYC (Between 9th and Washington Avenue) 212-463-8345 www.ParadouNYC.com French, Cocktails/Wine, Manhattan
The Meatpacking District offers countless feasting and toasting options! Over the top decor, $$$$ wine lists, and stiletto-required dining are available on every street corner. For a destination just as fabulous, but more relaxed, Paradou is an amazing option for French dining, as well as delicious and plentiful intoxicating creations. Located right in the center of the action, grab your friends and stay awhile with their epic cocktail specials and Provençal dishes. The cozy space has limited indoor seating, but that’s ok because the outdoor garden is where you want to be! Covered with a tent and heated, it’s perfect year round. The stand-out feature of this venue is its feel of intimacy, in a neighborhood where the lack of personal space in gigantic venues is the norm. Sparkling chandeliers and candlelight are perfect scene setters for group gatherings and lively chatter.
The menu is diverse and and full of French favorites like Moules du Jour, Salade Niçoise with Spiced Pan Seared Tuna, and an extensive collection of homemade Foie Gras. We devoured the Terrine Provençal and a selection of Artisanal French Cheeses on our visit. We then went on to sample the Quack x Quack, a duck two-ways entree with both Duck Confit and Magret de Canard prepared with Figs, Pine Nuts and White Truffle Honey. Yum yum yum! It was hard making our selection with Pork Belly, Lamb Brochettes, and Lemon Sage Roasted Chicken also featured. With a side of Truffled Mashed Potatoes, we were very satisfied campers!
While munching, we sampled two of their martinis, the Chaperon Rouge and the Paradou X, the restaurant’s signature cocktail. An incredible special on a pitcher of martinis is hard to pass up and one that we had to participate in! The friendly staff and the free flowing cocktails kept us in our seats late into the evening (apparently a very common ‘problem’ in this eatery). The ladies love this place! Its all-you-can-drink weekend brunch is a fun-filled gathering of those who can’t get enough of a good time. Reservations are in high demand, and once seated, groups are hard to pry out of their chairs. Dine, sip, and chat in this quaint Provençal escape!
- Paradou X (A+K)
- Chaperon Rouge- Fresh Strawberry Puree, Champagne (A+K)
- Terrine Provençal- Grilled Eggplant, Roasted Red Peppers, Goat Cheese, Cucumber Carpacchio (A+K)
- Artisanal French Cheese Selections (A+K)
- Quack x Quack- Duck Confit and Magret de Canard, Gigs, Pine Nuts, White Truffle Honey (A+K)
- Truffled Mashed Potatoes (A+K)
A: I love cozy little locales like this! Unpretentious, effervescent AND serves tasty French plates!
K: Classy, delicious, and warm… I will certainly be back! Can’t wait for brunch!
Our Rating Scales…
- Scene- A Lively, Quaint, Provençal Garden Party
- Food/Drinks- 3.5: Pleasantly Stellar
- Tip Worthy- 4: Double the Tax and Then some
- Coordinates- 5: Fun is right next door
- Restaurant Return Rate- Green light!
Late Night Snack and Cocktails- A+K
French Bistro, Wine and Cocktails, Manhattan
Pastis is legendary. It may even be the symbol of the entire Meatpacking District. American girls far and wide have made pilgrimages here to see (and score THE table at) the very downtown spot that Carrie Bradshaw brunched. It is now a quintessential New York City landmark, thanks to HBO.
Though, stopping by Pastis is not only for them! New Yorkers and visitors alike enjoy this French bistro for drinks and snacks at the bar. It will always provides one with a lively, energetic, and social New York City experience. Wine and cocktails are no more expensive here than anywhere else in downtown NYC. The late night bar scene is actually full of New Yorkers, and attracts an international crowd; this is the time to experience Pastis at its best. First, you’ve got to score yourself a seat at the bar.
Late night snacks and apps are a sure fire bet–Mussels & Fries or a Croque Madame will be sure to suit your fancy. But beware of the infamous, yet touristy (an inauthentic portrayal of NYC), brunch and dinner crowds. A local diner, or any West Village brunch joint will serve better quality food for less than you might find at Pastis, where the eggs are suspiciously fluffy….and steer clear of the $9 bottle of Pellegrino. If you want an authentic experience, think again if you are pondering a full, sit-down meal here-stick to a pre-dinner cocktail or a night cap– always reliable and fun.
What we ate…
- Kir Royale (Champagne and Crème de Cassis) (A+K)
- Croque Madame (Ham and Gruyere on toast, topped with a fried egg) (A+K)
A: This place has a great bar scene and (mostly) friendly bartenders. I could have sat there all night sipping Kir Royales!! Plus, any place that offers up Croque Madames is on my favorite list!
K: I love Pastis, late night! Great crowd, good service, and fun atmosphere. What’s better than champagne cocktails and a Croque Madame (avec frites!) at 1am? Not much!
Our Rating Scales…
- The Scene- Always packed, lively bar scene, borderline: touristy/trendy
- Food and Drinks- 3: Pleasantly surprised (drinks/cocktails more favorable)
- Tip Worthy- 3: Gratuity included
- Coordinates- 5: Block- Fun is right next door!
- Restaurant Return Rate- Drinks: Green light; Food: Stick to late night snacks and apps.
Cocktails- A+Kwww.thespottedpig.com Gastropub, Wine & Cocktails, Manhattan
gas·tro·pub [gástrō pùb] noun 1. a British term for a public house that specializes in serving high-quality food.
Though there are thousands of venues in New York City to have a creative cocktails along with incredible food, there is something about a gastropub that cannot be matched. It has the coziness of an Irish Public House, yet the dishes have an elegance of that which you’d find in a fine dining establishment. In New York City, there is only one spot that goes hand in hand with gastropub, and that’s the One Michelin Star restaurant, The Spotted Pig.
Tucked away on a quaint West Village street, The Spotted Pig embodies all that gastro-pub defines. They specialize in Cask Beer, an unfiltered, artisanal handmade ale, the traditional beer of Britain. They also include a number of imported and domestic beers by the bottle, as well as wines by the glass; the wine list is pretty extensive, with many bottles boasting from France and Italy. The true stars on the drink menu are definitely the cocktails. They offer creative concoctions made with many unique ingredients, such as Rhubarb Shrub in the 75 South cocktail [Rhubarb Shrub, Bombay Sapphire Gin, Lemon, Cava] or the Blackberry Shrub in the Blackberry Royal [Blackberry Shrub, Lemon, Cava]. All drinks feature freshly squeezed juices and house-infused liquors, as well as Rum or Bourbon. The Spotted Pig has some fabulous mixologists who are super personable and make expertly prepared cocktails.
When A+K arrived obscenely late on this evening, we were greeted warmly (even despite the time)…as soon as we took a peek at the drink list, we knew the Dark & Stormy was the drink for us…hearty, solid, and the perfect night cap. Two, please! Though we didn’t have any snacks (since we basically had two dinners…oh and because the kitchen closes at 2am!), we have enjoyed some of Chef April Bloomfield’s delicious creations, such as the Chicken Liver Toast and the Pan Roast Guinea Hen; however, we only whet our appetite and we’re already planning when to return for a full meal. Although The Spotted Pig does not accept reservations, you can always stop in, put your name down and go have an aperitif at one of the surrounding bustling spots, and the hostess will call you when your table is ready. What service! Or, stick around and wait for your table at one of the two bars (there’s one upstairs, too!)….Enjoy all that a gastropub has to offer! And thank those Brits!
What we Drank…
- Dark and Stormy (A+K)
A: What the heck were we doing here at 4 am! My drink wasn’t the only thing that was Dark and Stormy… so is my recollection of what happened from this point on…
K: I love this place. It’s always my go-to spot for good cocktails (at any time of day!). I’ve only had some snacks here…but it’s been on my list forever to have a full meal. The beauty of a gastropub is you can order up some tasty snacks at the bar with your well-prepared cocktail.
Our Rating Scales…
- Scene- Dark, cozy gastropub straight off the streets of London.
- Food/Drinks- 4- Stellar! Wouldn’t change a thing.
- Tip Worthy- 4- Double the tax and then some.
- Coordinates- 5: Block – Fun is right next door!
- Restaurant Return Rate- Green light… we’re running back!
*Spotted Pig photo obtained from Google Images