Saturday, May 11, 2013
Pigalle, New York
Last weekend, Jeff and I went to the city with several of his many siblings. ("The city," by the way, always refers to New York - specifically Manhattan. Even though we now live closer to Philly. Philly is nice, but New York is THE city.) We saw a matinee of Pippin and an Accidental Shakespeare production of Love's Labor Lost.
In between shows, we had an early dinner at Pigalle, a bustling French restaurant in the theater district. (Props to Andrea for yet another excellent restaurant pick.) Now, I'm not always big on French cuisine - they serve many things I should not be eating (high sat fat and cholesterol) and adorn otherwise perfect dishes with things I don't want (olives, anchovies, blue cheese). There was a lovely roasted half chicken on the menu, but I can't eat that much meat anymore - most of the last half chicken I ordered (at David Burke Fromagerie) came home with us. I ended up creating my own entree, adding a garden salad (sans blue cheese dressing) to a small onion tart to make a delicious light meal. Supplemented with half an appetizer and a whole dessert, I was pretty full (the half chicken would have been way over my limit).
I did not get a picture of our appetizer, it disappeared so quickly, but I shared crab cakes with Jeff's sister Carolyn. One order had only two very small crab cakes, but their deliciousness made up for their smallness. They were not packed with crab like the crab cakes Jeff recently made for us (and I totally wish I'd blogged about). There was a substantial amount of breading and other stuff in there, but the texture was wonderfully creamy. The bread crumbs on the outside gave them just a touch of crunch. They were accompanied by a spicy remoulade - not something I normally like, because I'm not a mayonnaise fan, but this had great flavor and complimented the crab perfectly.
My salad came as an entree, as I'd requested (though I wish I'd requested slightly smaller plates so they could fit in front of me!). It was just a garden salad, but had a very nice mixture of vegetables - a variety of lettuces with radish, bell pepper, carrot and tomato. The vinaigrette they substituted for the menu's blue cheese dressing was lovely. It wasn't an exciting choice, but it was a good one. I love salads.
My other entree was the onion tart. This was tucked away in a corner of the menu without any description, so I didn't know what to expect (apart from the size, which I'd already inquired about). I'd love to know what was in there, though, because the tart had a wonderful creamy filling. The onions were caramelized to perfection and the crust was light and flaky. What else could I have asked for? There was even more salad on the plate with it!
Jeff went crazy with his entree and ordered the trio of pork - one of the day's specials. It came with a sadly small salad of sauteed Brussels sprouts. They were a bit undercooked, to our taste, and there could have been more of them. Still, the pork was delicious. There was a pork chop with a simple glaze, a small link of pork sausage and some pork belly. Jeff thought the portions were sized just right - just enough that he was satisfied and not so much that he was tired of any one thing.
We went all out for dessert. Jeff ordered the peanut butter and fudge brownie - a nutty brownie with a layer of peanut butter filling topped with a layer of very shiny ganache served with plenty of chocolate sauce and ice cream. I thought the brownie itself was rather dry, but with all the other gooey things on the plate, it was hard to notice. The peanut butter flavor was excellent and the deep, dark ganache added a richness to the plate.
For my dessert, I ordered the bittersweet chocolate mousse with almond brittle. I haven't had chocolate mousse for ages, and it was just as I remembered. I love desserts that are soft, light and creamy and this fit the bill perfectly (although it did contain far more cream than I should ever be eating). The almond brittle came in the form of a crumbly, almost sticky almond cookie that added interest to what is otherwise a monotextural dessert. I appreciated that they didn't add too much coffee flavor to the mousse - there was a touch of mocha, but that's all. Since I'm a chocolate fan, but not a coffee fan, that was perfect for me.
Overall, while I hadn't initially been excited about Pigalle's menu (which featured pretty standard French fare), I was very happy with the experience. Everything that came out of the kitchen was beautifully executed. And, while far from healthy, I was able to put together a lighter meal out of what they had to offer (when I say "light," I'm not counting dessert - a light meal is just a means by which to ensure there's room for a fancy dessert!). I'm going to file this one away for the next time I need a good, solid meal in the theater district - assuming Andrea isn't around to recommend somewhere else awesome!