For the photos accompanying this write-up, please see: http://wp.me/p1aBy1-mI
Alain Allegretti’s new La Promenade des Anglais has been on my radar for a while. When Scoutmob offered a $20 coupon back in December, I snagged one. Last night, I dined at the restaurant for the first time with a friend. When we arrived at 6:30pm for our reservation, the dining room was already 70% full and abuzz with activities.
After placing our orders and as always, declining alcohol, a nice bread basket arrived, the breads warm and crusty. Being an olive bread fan, I, predictably, chose the olive baguette first and split it with my companion. Given the cuisine of the restaurant, the breads were served with olive oil, instead of butter.
Prosciutto and Clam Croquettes – Espelette chili oil
We started off with the most excellent Prosciutto and Clam Croquettes. At first, I tried to pick these up with my fork because I didn’t want to get my hands greasy since I was handling a camera throughout the meal. No go, the croquette was so soft and almost liquid in the center that the moment my fork pierced the crisp outer shell, the entire sphere fell apart. Despite this initial mishap, I have to say this was one of the best bites of fried bread dough I’d ever had and it turned out, this was my favorite dish of the meal. The diced clams, prosciutto, and whatever seasonings that went into the croquette were a delight on the taste buds. A perfect savory start.
Frog Legs Provençale – Garlic cream
We couldn’t resist ordering the frog dish. I haven’t eaten frogs in ages and have never had them done the French/Provençale way. While I thought the dish tasted great, the garlicky cream sauce usurped the more delicate taste of the frog legs. The frog legs became the medium for the cream sauce to shine, instead of the other way around like it should be. My friend’s comment, “You know… I couldn’t even tell this was frog.”
Provençale Fish Soup – Garlic croutons, Gruyère, classic rouille
This was where our opinions regarding the food diverged. We ordered this because the fish soup was supposed to be the chef’s signature dish, however, I was underwhelmed. First, the soup tasted under-salted. Good thing the bread here was served with salt, I took thorough liberties with it. After the soup was salted to my satisfaction, I still wasn’t wowed. The soup certainly tasted of oceany fish, but was it really worth being called a signature dish? I’m not sure. However, when I told my friend that I thought the soup bland, she looked surprised and thought it was perfectly good. So there you have it.
Trofie – Heirloom tomatoes, capers, olives, lemon, ventresca tuna
Oh, this was fantastic! The pasta was perfect al dente with a great chew. The capers, olives, and the tomato sauce tasted like ocean breeze. As if that was still not oceany enough, the canned tuna belly strips, so fleshy and tasty, helped create a symphony of flavors and textures. Of course this was no ordinary canned tuna, but I was still surprised that canned tuna could be so delicious. Love.
Apple Tart – Ricotta almond gelato
The ice cream was lovely and the almond flakes delicious. Unfortunately, these were all the good things I could say about our Apple Tart. The apple slices were mostly bitter. The bitterness was not to the point of being unpleasant, but definitely tasted strange. Alas.
La Promenade des Anglais was somewhat of a mixed bag for me judging from one meal. The Prosciutto and Clam Croquettes and the Trofie were the standout dishes of the evening. I would not order the Fish Soup or the Apple Tart again. The restaurant was super busy on a Friday evening. The music choice that evening consisted mostly of pop/club dance songs. And since the restaurant was packed full, the noise level was considerable. This is not the place to go for a quiet, relaxing evening that’s for sure. However, if you want an energetic, lively restaurant to unwind for the night, La Promenade fits the bill.
La Promenade des Anglais
461 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10011