Please note that the meal was complimentary. However, the opinions expressed in my blog are 100% my own!
Le Village is a French restaurant located in the East Village that opened last January. This place is not totally unknown to me as it is the continuation of an incredible adventure Chef and owner Didier Pawlicki, who also own Taureau and La Sirene started few years ago with Table Verte: the first French vegetarian restaurant in the city. Yes, you read well: French vegetarian. If you are familiar with French cuisine, you will probably raise an eyebrow, but the principle is simple: make the garnish the star of the dish and do not try to imitate meat with tofu or tempeh. With Le Village, Chef Pawlicki kept the concept, appealing to the vegetarian, vegan and gluten free community, but still proposing few dishes for the carnivores. The result: a menu composed at 80% of vegetarian dishes and 20% of non vegetarian dishes.
There are few dishes I was familiar with, such as the sautéed Brussels sprouts with balsamic glazed strawberries
Or the gnocchi parisien au gratin:
But I was thrilled to see the ravioles de Royans à la crème:
Ravioles are French ravioli that are tiny, stuffed with comté cheese, garlic and parsley. When buying them, they look this way:
In France, you can find them in most supermarkets, but here, I could not find any. It was useless to ask the Chef if he knew a place to buy them as he told us that they come directly from France. At Le Village, he prepares them with heavy cream and truffle oil, but just enough to give a nice scent and taste, without overpowering the dish. I definitely recommend it!
We also got a surprise, as a welcome amuse bouche: foie gras au torchon, especially made by Chef Pawlicki, who explained to us the entire process that will definitely convince anybody who thinks that making foie gras is easy (not the I know anybody who would say that...).
The foie gras was served with gluten free chouquettes that are small choux, as well as an onion jam that paired perfectly with the foie gras.
Another classic was the French onion soup. Usually, it is done with chicken stock, but at Le Village, they make a vegetarian version of it that is pretty successful. You can even ask for some gluten free bread if you'd like.
For entrées, they kept the vegetarian cassoulet, making it even more hearty. For sure, you will not get the delicious flavor of an authentic cassoulet, but it is a beautiful version of it, where the Chef was able to make it better than what could have simply been a white bean dish.
But what was the best entrée of the evening for me was the coq au vin, a classic French dish where the rooster was replaced by a succulent chicken.
It was so flavorful, the poultry being perfectly braised and smothered in such a robust red wine sauce.
We also tried the Chou-fleur roti that was good, but I would have seen it more as a side than standing on its own like the cassoulet did.
We then got a festival of desserts prepared by Chef Pawlicki himself. I liked all of them, but my all time favorite (it was on Table Verte menu) is the banana brulée that is an homage of the Chef to his girlfriend who loves banana pudding, so he decided to create a French version of it.
The other surprising dessert was the fondant au chocolat, a gluten free version of a chocolate lava cake, made with chestnut flour. It was perfectly cooked, the center being delightfully liquid.
We also tried the pruneaux a l'Armagnac, that are prunes macerated in red wine, cinnamon, bay leaf and armagnac spirit, served with a homemade coconut sherbet that Jodi would have loved.
Next was a classic: profiteroles au chocolat, where the Chef used the chouquettes that were served with the foie gras.
The last dessert was an apple tart, also served with coconut sherbet. The crust was a puff pastry and there was some apricot compote in the bottom, that paired perfectly with the apples.
This was a delicious meal and Chef Pawlicki proves that if you are vegetarian, vegan or eat gluten free, you can get some delicious dishes. By adding few meat choices, he branches out to a wide range of customers that will really enjoy a meal there.
Oh, and no, you cannot pay with a bitcoin, even if you use the machine in the back of the dining room!
Enjoy (I did)!
If you like this post, the photos or the blog, please feel free to share it or post a comment. Merci!