Rouge Et Blanc
That slightly off the beaten track block of Macdougal Street that finds itself in Soho and not the Village, hosts a few good finds but most notable, most delicious, most exciting I bet is Rouge Et Blanc. French-Vietnamese with more than a nod to Japan. a superb French wine list and you have yourself one delightful meal.
It’s all orchestrated by owner/sommelier Thomas Cregan and chef Matt Rojas, both of whom have excellent street cred. The decor is Saigon 1940’s but with true style and no pandering to a theme. Love that the soundtrack includes 80’s rock and Piaf. But the best news is that you can have a conversation without straining while hearing the music and soaking in the atmosphere. A novel concept.
Small plates to share or maybe just covet for yourself seem to be the way to go. And once you start ordering a couple, it’s hard to stop. They’re like potato chips – bet you can’t eat just four.
We had the razor clams with a charred leek confit, meant to be sucked right out of the shell. Sweet clam, tangy char, good deal. The offered special of sea bream with flowers, layers of herbs and spice was a soft explosion of one bite wonder. We were crazy about the hamachi with grapefruit, black truffles and soy jus. Maybe my favorite of the evening. Although it was rivaled by the whole rouget fried with nuoc man, herbs and glazed peanuts. Even the fried brussels sprouts with lime, garlic and a soy bean crumble was addictive and invigorating.
Lovely and attentive service comes with provisos as to how to taste each beautifully prepared plate – ‘we’d prefer that you have this in one go so as to properly enjoy the flavors’. Very WD-50 of them. And the perfect way to experience the amalgam of tastes.
More dishes followed, more joy, a few single glasses of white wine and then a tasty bottle of Clos de Cerise Noire 2009. It’s a neighborhood charmer that’s just a bit more special than your local hang but nearby or no – an unqualified destination.
Rouge Et Blanc
48 MacDougal Street
Open daily for dinner as well as for Sunday brunch
* Header photo by Angela Carbonetti / http://www.angelacarbonetti.com