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Manhattan Brunch Dinner

2 Reviews: Gascogne for Brunch and Le Souk for dinner

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2 Reviews: Gascogne for Brunch and Le Souk for dinner

dkstar1 | Jul 12, 2004 09:27 AM

With my wife's 18 year old cousin and his girlfriend visiting us this weekend, we wanted to give them some experiences they might not get in upstate New York. So Saturday night we went to Le Souk, a lively joint located on Ave. B (bet. 3rd and 4th St.) that serves Moroccan/North African cuisine. Picked from the list of a dozen Moroccan restaurants listed in Zagats, it just sounded different than the others. We arrived to find a well decorated - lots of lanterns providing soft, multi-hued lights in a Moroccan casbah-type place that fit into the Lower East side perfectly. My wife and I ordered their Sangria. It was excellent, in fact one of the better ones I've had. My wife, who doesn't like to drink alcohol was blown away and said...now this I can drink. We ordered some appetizers but for me the highlight was the mussels (a dish I have never ordered in a restaurant and only had once before down the shore)- with fennel, peppers and onions - in a saffron sauce. The broth was slightly less than the consistency of tomato soup and it was fantastic. I would have slurped up every last drop but it was taking me too long and the others had already finished their apps. Highly recommended! The entrees picked by my wife and her cousin were the lamb chops. Apparently they were great as there was nothing left on their plates, although my wife later confided that they smelled a little funny. I'm sure it was just the spices she wasn't used to. I ordered a new item on their menu: the full cornish hen with pomegranate and honey glaze. This arrived with an abundance of broccoli rabe and a tomato relish - all very very tasty. The hen was delishous as well but the pomegranate/honey glaze didn't seem to cook well...charring/hardening the top of the bird. This was hardly a problem though as the meat itself was fine (perhaps a degree too dry, but nothing worth complaining about). More food than one person can eat but a delicious dinner. We skipped dessert as we were heading to see Spiderman 2 and would get our fill of milk duds and popcorn. One other note...we walked by 2 other Morroccan restaurants in the Zagat's guide later that night, and we all said to ourselves...we picked the right one. Give this place a shot!

Gascogne
Because Roadrunner (online service) in New York sucks (constantly not up and running: Server not found), I was unable to get a menu of Gascogne's brunch before we set out, as suggested by CH'ers, on Sunday morning. A mistake I won't make again. My wife is far less chowish than I and made for early Sunday/lack of sleep whining. She was hoping for the hearty bacon/pancakes/maple syrup kind of brunch. Instead she was treated to a french version of the mid morning meal. So the three of them ordered salads, I ordered the leek mousse/Goat cheese dish. My wife, already unhappy with the choice of restaurant, is even more irate when the server puts a salad in front of her with a bug crawling out from under the mesclun. She sends it back without asking for another. I never receive my appetizer - instead get a plain salad. Wow. Not looking good so far. The three of them order eggs benedict, I order the traditional Southwestern (of France, not US) omelette which was quite good. Nothing left on my plate. As the server is handing the plate to my wife, he says "Oh no, not another) and thinks he sees another bug on my wife's plate. My wife, in horror, is then "not-quite-assured" that it is only a chive. It was just a chive though. I had a bloody mary and despite a previous review (scroll down just a bit), I found it to be the worst bloody mary I have ever had. In fact, it was simply terrible. Other items of note: the restaurant is very handsome. Upon arrival I was very excited. With no one in the front of the house, we walked to the back and down and out to the garden ourselves, which was fine I guess. The garden was lovely and looked to be very comfortable. A large "tent" shades the stone floored back garden but in doing so, makes it like a greenhouse. The servers were sweating profusely and we weren't far off ourselves. The tables are very low to the ground and the plastic chairs were hardly comfortable. Granted, if the adventurous side of my wife's appetite was out this morning, it might have been better...but not much. Other notes..the creme caramel dessert (part of the prix fixe) was passable but nearly tasteless. The profiterolles we also ordered were divine. Best dish of the day. But alas, too many things against Gascogne. I even heard the waitress, as we were leaving, say "Can't anything go right today?" to another waiter.

MM

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