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There’s a new French restaurant on Bond Street, and it’s officially your new go-to for First/Early In The Game Dates. If you are a bachelor in this town, you need to immediately put Le Philosophe on your Hit List, write it on your hand, put a note on your sad and empty refrigerator…do whatever you need to do so you won’t forget about it. This is the place you’re taking the next lucky lady that you need to impress. Lord knows you need all the help you can get.
Mark our words. French food is about to be cool again. After a decade worth of burgers and pork buns dominating our precious New York restaurant scene, the French have returned to remind us that they still own at romancing you with food and drink. Gone are the days of taking a girl to Momofuku and hoping she enjoys sitting at a table with fifteen strangers while you slurp up noodles and drink a Magic Hat. Excellent casual restaurants like Le Philosophe and Calliope are the beginning of what we hope to be a new era of classic cooking and good wine coming back into style. We actually contributed to a New York Times article about exactly this subject back in 2009, and now we’re ready to take back everything we said. It’s time for a little more refinement in our lives.
What makes Le Philosophe so ultimately Perfect For a date actually has relatively little to do with the fact that they serve French food. It’s more the spirit of this place in general that makes it the ideal destination for convincing a girl that you have interests outside of football and XBox Live. We love it because it’s casual yet interesting, lively but not loud, and complex but also simple. There’s a bunch of things on the menu here that you probably don’t recognize if you don’t read French cookbooks, but that’s OK because the staff is really cool and helpful. There’s an incredible wine list that’s full of really great bottles that cost $28. Honestly, you can easily get in and out of this place for under $100 for the two of you, and your meal will be f*cking excellent. There’s even a great bar area in the back if you’d rather “meet for drinks” rather have a full sit down meal with someone you barely know (you non-committal bastard). Basically, Le Philosophe is a really good restaurant that’s going to make you seem way more cultured than you actually are. Just make sure that you figure out how to pronounce the name before you suggest it to the maybe girl of your dreams. “Luh-Fee-Lo-Sofe.” You’re welcome.
Cured Foie Gras Terrine
Do what’s good for you and order some foie. This is pretty traditionally prepared and presented, much like the rest of the menu. You really can’t go wrong.
With all the heavy stuff on this menu, you’re gonna need something to balance it all out and maybe keep you from dying. This market greens salad is simple – just some greens and some veggies with a lemon vinaigrette. But a well-dressed salad goes a long way, and this one is done up perfectly.
A+ all around for selection, presentation, and the giant bucket of mignonette that comes with them. I’ve never understood why some places will hand over a dozen oysters with a half-ounce of red wine vinegar on the side. Times is tough, I guess.
Here’s another of the lighter options available for dinner. These mussels are great, and come served in a tasty broth with some potatoes and crème fraîche. Notice we said light-er.
Blanquette de Veau
This is basically a white stew of sorts, with big chunks of veal meat, some vegetables, and rice. It’s f*cking awesome, and you should eat it.
A beautiful piece of hake, sitting in an enameled cast iron dish. It’s hearty and tasty, and is a good option if you don’t want to be eating some kind of helpless mammal in sauce (see, veal).
A nice pasta dish with some mushrooms. Not sure that this is particularly French in origin, but the addition of hazelnuts where breadcrumbs might otherwise appear is both interesting and delicious. It also fills you up big time.
Kale salad with Fried Egg, Delicata Squash, Pickled Chili, Pumpkin Seeds, and Bacon
This might be the most impressive kale salad creation we’ve come across. Served during brunch, it’s basically a big pile of well seasoned kale, some thinly sliced chiles, cubes of squash, big hunks of smoky bacon, toasted pumpkin seeds and a f*cking fried egg. Excuse me while I sit alone with this in a corner.
Nothing really needs to be said. Just look.