A little taste of France

When my brother visits from San Francisco, it’s always an exciting time for me as I really enjoy spending time with him and exploring new places in the city together. This time, we took our mom out to Claudette for her special birthday celebration. It was pretty dark inside, so my photo opportunity wasn’t the greatest, but nonetheless it was a nice dining experience!

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Claudette is in the heart of Greenwich Village, just two blocks away from Washington Square Park and New York University’s main campus. If you haven’t gone there, you may have visited her sister restaurants, Rosemary’s and Bobo. At first i thought it would be a highly overpriced, way-too-fancy for me type of restaurant, but it turned out to be the cutest little restaurant on the corner of 5th Avenue. 

Respectful, friendly waiters and hosts welcomed us in as we sat around a 4-seat circular table covered in white tablecloth beneath beautiful place settings. We began our celebrated meal with one of mom’s favorite seafood: charred baby octopus served with chickpeas, barissa, and parsley. The star of the dish was firm and satisfyingly chewy, not rubbery. Though for me, it was too spicy, my family finished every last bite and said the flavor was just perfect.

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The second appetizer ordered was the ratatouille tart made with a pâte brisée crust, a French pastry dough that’s the foundation of many great pie and tart recipes. This was perhaps my favorite of the night!  The crust was golden, buttery, and flaky while the ratatouille was as perfect as it gets –  stewed and simmered in a perfect balance of herbs and vegetables.

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As for the entrees, they were just okay to me but all very unique. This chicken tagine was one of the top most raved about dishes on YELP. I can see why as the chicken falls off the bone, yet it remains incredibly juicy, moist, and tender. The orange flavored couscous and sauce wasn’t for me (not a couscous kinda gal!), but you probably won’t find this Moroccan dish in many places, so it’s worth a try.

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Another unique dish was the bouillabaisse en croute. Served on top of this traditional fish stew was a flaky, crispy puff pastry. I thought this bouillabaisse was light and mild in flavor, but the puff pastry was a taste right from Provence.

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French restaurants are always my favorite to go to especially during the Restaurant Week pre-fixe specials, as they are usually more on the expensive side. Claudette is another story though – if you’re looking for a cute place for a date or somewhere to take someone out to celebrate, then I recommend this restaurant!  You’ll get what you paid for – high quality, great service, and good food.

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