You've probably heard about Gascogne, the historical region in France that is home to the Midi-Pyrenees and haute cuisine like foie gras. Lesser known, perhaps, is Gascogne, the romantic French bistro with a rustic garden located in the heart of Chelsea on 8th avenue at 18th street.
We enjoyed a lovely, quiet, candlelit dinner at Gascogne tonight. This place has beaucoup d'ambience, a good selection of wines from France (mais oui), traditional French dishes and authentic service (ahem). I even got to practice my French!
Appetizer was slow cooked, wild mushrooms on a puff pastry with black truffle sauce. This dish had a wonderfully robust and smoky flavour. This was accompanied by a simple mesclun salad, tossed lightly with a champagne vinaigrette. I then went straight to the cheese course as they had nothing else vegetarian on the menu except a plate of steamed vegetables. I nibbled on an assortment of cheeses - St. Andre, Brie, Roquefort, and Morbier. I loved the St. Andre, a soft cow's milk cheese that has a velvety texture and literally melts in the mouth.
H tried to enquire about other vegetarian options but the waiter, a young French chap who was quite offended by the request, made it very clear that we should not have come here if we wanted vegetarain food! I laughed it off knowing the French all too well (I lived in France during my junior year in college) but I'm sure that he pisses off a lot of clients.
All this confirms my theory that French restaurants in Manhattan are the worst type of restaurants for vegetarians. I've been to at least five now and they all offered only steam vegetables as the main course - quel dommage! Unless I'm in a mood for just wine and cheese, I'm never consciously picking a French restaurant again!
158 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY 10011