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Picholine

35 West 64th Street (btwn. CPW & Broadway)
(212)724-8585
website
CODE.TV video (with Restaurant Girl)
Savory NY video

 

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TYPE:
Mediterranean-influenced French

VIBE: Whimsical elegance
OCCASION: A romantic affair or cheese cravings  
 
DON’T MISS DISH: Paella spring rolls

PRICE: Wine
& cheese bar – tapas & tasting plates, $15-$18 (full dinner menu also available); dining room – prixe fixe, $64 for two courses, $14 each additional course (without
cocktails).
HOURS: Dinner, Monday through Thursday, 5 PM-11 PM; Friday & Saturday, 5 PM-11:45 PM; Sunday 5 PM-9 PM; Lunch,
Saturday 11:45 AM – 2 PM.
SEATING: 15 seats in wine & cheese bar; 96 in dining room; 24 in private dining room.

INSIDE SCOOP: The tapas menu is also available in the main dining room.
FINAL WORD:
Cheese
doesn’t get any better than this.  The famed Artisanal cheese cart’s now
available a la carte in the wine & cheese bar to a more casual
crowd, and that doesn’t even begin to touch on the delectably revamped
menu.

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,
Restaurant Girl

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