“This is my extra or much less space, Dad,” talked about my eldest daughter, a person of proper and impeccable model via a definite extra or much less as much as this point, modestly sophisticated French dining expertise. I trust it changed into breakfast time at Marie-Aude Rose’s unusual downtown café, La Mercerie, even though it might maybe maybe had been lunch or dinner, because after our first consult with together, the card-carrying Francophile in the Platt household saved agitating to plan repeatedly. There had been full croissants on the table, which Rose and her workers bake fresh each and every morning, and baguettes lop up down the guts, served with butter flown in from Brittany, and pots of jam. There had been crispy-edged buckwheat crêpes arranged spherical fried eggs and slices of country ham, and when we asked for a lop of breakfast brioche, it arrived dusted with sugar and characteristic in a bowl of frigid, vanilla-speckled crème anglaise.
La Mercerie sits on the southern conclude of Mercer Avenue in a huge, airy blue-and-gray-painted room, 1/2 of which is given over to a indicate of the diverse wares and knickknacks of an upscale retailer known as Roman and Williams Guild. As with Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s workout routines in department-retailer dining at ABC Carpet & Home extra uptown, the cups and bowls off which you be pleased are accessible in for engage, and it’s even that you might maybe factor in to declare a bouquet of fresh plants in some unspecified time in the future of your meal and decide it up in case you fling out the door. And moreover as at Jean-Georges’s eating locations, Rose’s menu right here is designed with utility in mind, starting put with a straightforward breakfast provider at 9 a.m. It switches over to a one-web page café menu at noon, which runs via dinnertime and is important now not so mighty for fireworks and originality as for that classically French combination of first class components and plan and a extra or much less elevated, homespun care.
Our brioche breakfast dish changed into the bag of element you’d factor in taking half in out on the porch of an auberge someplace in the summery French nation-express, or as the guest of an carried out dwelling cook dinner, and so had been the oeufs à la coque (boiled eggs), each and every body fastidiously topped and characteristic in its brightly colored egg holder, with the buttered toast soldiers stacked under. The chef grew up in Paris, where she made a title for herself in an growth of the town’s elite kitchens and met her husband, Daniel Rose of Le Coucou. She has a fondness for that comforting former dwelling-cooked Breton delicacy the crêpe, which the kitchen produces all day prolonged, for each and every allotment of the meal. You will be in an area to supplement the aforementioned eggs-and-ham breakfast crêpe, starting put at noon, with a 2nd delectable possibility stuffed with creamed rooster, carrots, and lots of tarragon, followed by a delectable, artfully folded model of the classic crêpe au sucre for dessert.
No longer surprisingly, the easy lunchtime cheese omelet at La Mercerie has a seamlessly mushy, Parisian-model consistency to it (it’s scattered with buttery croutons for correct measure), even though you might maybe moreover bag your eggs ready en cocotte with a lop of toasted mushroom brioche, or laborious-boiled and piled in the former capacity with spoonfuls of fresh-made mayonnaise on high. The niçoise salad right here is constructed with staunch objects of tuna moderately than the oily canned variety, and the eggs, tuna, and lettuce are moreover accessible in mini-sandwich pan bagnat bag, correct like in one of the most finer cafés alongside the Côte d’Azur. There are oysters moreover, and dwelling-smoked salmon (arranged on a runt of pedestal, with crème fraîche and blinis), but in case you’re in the mood for staunch opulence, I recommend the white asparagus, which the kitchen dresses with a warm brown-butter vinaigrette and buries in slivers of toasted almond.
On one in every of my very early visits to Chef Rose’s café, I loved one in every of maybe the most efficient New York variations of steak tartare I’ve ever had (sure, there had been gaufrette potatoes and frizzled onions), even though it’s since sadly disappeared from the menu. Red meat enthusiasts can consolation themselves with a decorous, precisely wine-saturated plating of boeuf bourguignon, alternatively, and a portion of filet so at ease that my daughter thought she might maybe maybe also very well be in an area to be pleased it with her spoon. Our steak changed into served with a pod of cheese-stuffed pommes dauphine shaped like runt clouds (the potatoes are mashed, then fried) and poured with a buttery cream sauce touched with cognac, Worcestershire, and shallots. The different entrée-size dishes are brightened with their very accept as true with fastidiously calibrated reductions, in particular the salmon, which rests in a glum pool of sauce meurette made like in Burgundy, with the gently simmered essence of mushrooms, bacon, and extra purple wine.
Even maybe the most efficient bistros and brasseries spherical city tend to be filtered via a particular New York sensibility, but at distinct times of the day, when the light comes via the tall windows and the prolonged, powder-blue banquettes are stuffed with subtle diners sipping Champagne cocktails with having a stare luggage piled up spherical their toes, La Mercerie can if reality be told feel a runt of like France. There are tasteful, golf-ball-size profiteroles for dessert, and pastries fastidiously stuck with rows of market fruit (toddler strawberries now). On a final, lunchtime consult with with my daughter, our waiter, who changed into from Picardy, instantaneous the crêpe with sugar, which comes folded in a triangle, like a fastidiously arranged napkin, and that former café standby crème caramel. My daughter took one chunk of the frigid, custardy crème caramel, then but another. “We possess got to return to Paris quickly, Dad,” she talked about as she set down her spoon.
53 Howard St., at Mercer St.; 212-852-9097; lamerceriecafe.com
Open: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily.
Prices: Appetizers, $9 to $32; entrées, $28 to $37.
Supreme Meal: Anything to conclude with eggs or crêpes, filet with pommes dauphine, boeuf bourguignon or salmon with sauce meurette, crème caramel.
Insist: There isn't the kind of thing as a sit-down bar, however the dwelling cocktails we sampled — a Kir royale, an impeccably dry martini with a twist — had been righteous.
Scratchpad: One superstar for the uncanny French-café verisimilitude and but another for the meals and plan.
*This text looks in the June 25, 2018, impart of New York Journal. Subscribe Now!