A year and a half ago, I got invited at Raoul's, a French restaurant located in Soho, for an event called Death In The Afternoon, reminiscent of the prohibition era. After that event, I promised myself I would go back and try their signature dish: the steak au poivre, so popular that I read that the cast of SNL used to go there just for that dish. And it is true that, while dining there, I saw a lot of these steak frites going around.
We went on a Friday and the restaurant was packed. Few people tried to go without a reservation (we had one), some, probably regulars, succeeded pretty quickly after speaking with the staff, while we were still waiting for our table...We finally got seated in the dining room that was a bit dark: sorry: I like to see what I am eating!
I started off by ordering an old fashioned, made with Michter's Bourbon, Angostura bitters, sugar and a marasca cherry.
For appetizer, I could not resist trying their pan seared foie gras, served with Maitake mushrooms and apple. This was superb: the foie gras had a nice saltiness to counterbalance its fattiness and buttery texture. I thought that it was interesting that they served it with Maitake mushrooms, although, with the apple, it gave a bit of bite to the dish.
Jodi simply went for the market greens salad, that had pieces of feta in it.
She also went for a vegetarian dish for her entree: the roasted cauliflower, with oyster mushrooms, kale and polenta. It was quite good and did not look like a dish put there as a second thought in case a vegetarian diner comes to the restaurant.
Of course, for me it was the steak frites with its famous sauce au poivre. This big piece of filet is smothered by a peppercorn sauce that is divine and one of the best I had. Unfortunately, the steak was medium when I asked for medium rare, and was not as tender as I expected. It was served with a salad and hand cut fries, skin on, that were delicious, a bit crispy.
Last was dessert and Jodi was really happy to read her favorite ingredient in a dessert: coconut! So we ordered the banana coconut bread pudding that was superb, with more banana than coconut taste. It was soft, not dry and not too sweet, a perfect way to finish our meal.
Even if I was a bit disappointed with the steak, I thought it was a good meal. I might give it another try, hopping that this time, I will have a better cut and a perfect temperature for what is supposed to be the best steak au poivre in the City...
Enjoy (I did)!
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Raoul's - 180 Prince Street, New York, NY 10012