35 West 64th Street (btwn. CPW & Broadway)
CODE.TV video (with Restaurant Girl)
Savory NY video
Having reinvented Picholine’s once overly mature space and formal French
menu, Terrance Brennan plans to reposition himself as a power player in
NYC’s competitive restaurant scene. Showcasing a newly-inspired French menu
with decidedly Mediterranean influences (Spanish and Italian), not to mention
suddenly sexy digs, Picholine hopes to broaden its appeal and lure a
decidedly hipper crowd. Outfitted in a serene lavender and gray color scheme, courtesy of Coffinier Ku design –
silver-finished chandeliers, grey mohair banquettes, lilac & cream
sconces and purple velvet curtains – romantic accents that breathe new
life into the UWS institution.
Brennan has proven himself an evolved chef of the times with a contemporary menu that reads like a musical symphony of flavors, marrying notably savory-and-sweet elements to many of the offerings: foie gras with cherry compote & cocoa syrup; licorice-lacquered squab; duck breast with cherries & chocolate-peppercorn vinaigrette. While other Picholine signatures
were not as fortunate, mainstays, like olive-crusted saddle of lamb and a luscious sea urchin
panna cotta with a precious dollop of osetra caviar, both scored positions on the updated menu. Brennan and his Chef de Cuisine, Australian-born, Craig Hopson, also pay homage to classic American desserts with sophisticated spins on peanut butter & jelly and the fig “Newton”, a modern rendition, featuring milk sorbet and port coulis.
I found myself chasing after a waiter wielding scrumptious paella
spring rolls – deep-fried crepes
wrapped around saffron-laced nibbles of rice and seafood, topped with a
tangle of calamari (available only on the cheese & wine bar menu). I was also taken with terrifically moist boudin blancs,
white sausages partnered with a zippy mustard-caper emulsion. Though,
I was less impressed with somewhat gimmicky manchego beignets, glorified fried cheese sticks, to be dipped in a thick cheese fondue.
At nearly $100 a plate, Picholine’s dining experience is still likely be reserved for romantic occassions or “expense account” dinners. But there are tasty deals to be
had in the wine & cheese bar; a $15 tasting flight and $18 tasting menu, offering sweetbreads, foie gras and mushroom risotto, invite you to sample Brennan’s goods more affordably. There’s even a $21 Artisanal cheese and salume plate, further proof that Picholine’s not just for grown ups anymore.
Until we eat again,
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