Church & State
This urban-romantic bistro pleases with French classics executed by the latest chef, Patina alum Tony Esnault. The steak frites arrive ruby and crispy; the bouillabaisse, rich with prawns and cockles. Tartes come topped with seasonal ingredients like butternut squash or a mix of Emmenthaler cheese, onions, and bacon. Toast the meal with cocktails that are on par with the neighborhood’s most avant-garde offerings.
Best Modern Bistro, August 2009
Jeremy Berlin is the third chef in two years and the second in six months for downtown’s trendy bistro. Much of the menu is as the restaurant’s most famous alum, Walter Manzke, left it: dramatic tiers of oysters, a killer steak frites, crispy pig’s ears, and a series of crisp, savory tartes (the one with caramelized onions, bacon, and gruyère is a wonder). But Berlin has already put his stamp on a few items like the hearty vegetarian cassoulet with Tuscan kale, purple carrots, and beans that border on crunchy. For fall, the bavette comes with kabocha squash and a pumpkin caramel. At a recent “Church on Sundays” prix-fixe dinner, a seafood boudin showed a degree of refinement that gave us hope for the future. We toasted to it with cocktails that are on par with the neighborhood’s most avant-garde offerings.