Magazine article The New Yorker

Nice Matin

Magazine article The New Yorker

Nice Matin

Article excerpt

201 W. 79th St. (212-873-6423)--During a working vacation in the French Riviera, Andy D'Amico, the chef at the old Sign of the Dove, and Simon Oren, the owner of L'Express and French Roast, came up with the idea for a sunny restaurant on the Upper West Side that would mix the strong flavors of Southern France with a mostly walk-in approach.

The room is noisy and the decor is an odd mix of pool tiles, pension wallpaper, and Folies-Bergere light fixtures, but after an hors d'oeuvre or two--chickpea fries or stuffed sardines, for instance--it's easy to get swept away. The menu is designed for grazing. There's a slew of appetizers, like pistou and squash-blossom beignets. The fava-bean tortelloni and the chopped mackerel with grapefruit are such carefully calibrated interpretations that the pissaladiere comes as an unwelcome surprise: the overly literal translation of the signature dish of Nice is a niche-market mess of onions and anchovies on a thin-crust pizza. …

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