Magazine article The New Yorker

Food & Drink

Magazine article The New Yorker

Food & Drink

Article excerpt

FOOD & DRINK Open for dinner Tuesdays through Sundays. Three-course menu, $65.

TABLES FOR TWO

BATARD

239 W. Broadway (212-219-2777)

"I DON'T CARE what you wear, as long as your feet and your genitals are covered," Drew Nieporent, the avuncular owner of Batard, said to a couple in the corner who had been admiring the relaxed atmosphere of his restaurant. It's a testament to the obscene deliciousness of what they were eating that neither stopped. They were on dessert, which was milk bread, a Christmastime treat from Germany. Analogies tumbled forth: the caramelized crust broke with a creme-brulee crackle; the puffy, unctuous interior was like the world's best French toast; the contrast in textures reminded them of iced donuts from childhood.

The milk bread was gone even before Nieporent had moved to the next table, to hold forth with stories from years past in the same Tribeca space--and photos, too, loaded on his iPhone. There was a shot of the crew from his first restaurant, Montrachet. (You could tell it was the early eighties because of the hair gel.) A few years after that popular bistro closed came Corton, a frankly luxurious experience for the boom years, and the expense accounts, of the mid-aughts. The room is an unlikely spot for so many nice dinners. It's L-shaped, with barely any windows and a ceiling as low as a brownstone basement's. And yet, with Batard, Nieporent has created another special place. The aggressively relaxed dress code and clubhouse-like atmosphere take nothing away from the sophisticated northern-European food--if anything, it feels just right for now to serve a serious three-course meal, at relatively gentle prices for the neighborhood, without a tablecloth. …

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