When I picked Valerie for a Friday evening dinner, I did not know what to expect: French firstname, description on Opentable saying they propose an American fare and menu featuring Asian inspired dishes like the Korean BBQ fried chicken sandwich. I was at a loss. And did not expect either to end up on such loud place, the saving grace being the end of the happy hour!
For sure, this place was full, on both floors and when we arrived, I prayed that we would be sitting upstairs, thinking it would be quieter. I was slightly wrong. Valerie is a beautiful restaurant though, with its retro decor and eye catching bar. I would probably go more for a cocktail than for the food, the latter looking interesting, except the desserts and for me not to eat dessert is exceptional (I am either too full or nothing appeals me like it was the case that evening). With quite few Asian dishes, the menu is a bit overwhelming because you wonder where the chef excels: American or Asian? So we tried a bit of both. Here is what we had:
As a cocktail, I chose a sazerac with rye, absinthe and bitters, a drink that was on their happy hour list. Jodi on her side got the Gloria de Casares, a non-alcoholic cocktail made of Seedlip grove 42, grapefruit shrub, fever tree aromatic tonic.
Braised olives with a citrus spiced marinade and grilled bread. Good but quite salty.
Truffled portobello flatbread, one of the few vegetarian dishes they offer (they do have the Impossible burger otherwise). This was a good bar dish.
Char-grilled octopus with marcona almonds, peashoots, carrot romesco and cannellini beans salad. That was my favorite dish: they surely know how to cook octopus. It was nicely charred and not rubbery.
Beef cheek steak buns, with Brussels sprout kimchi and sriracha aioli. I was looking forward to this dish but it did not deliver: the meat was dry and it was lacking the flavors and heat the description suggested.
So overall, it was disappointing: I would only go to Valerie for a cocktail, certainly not for the food. Dommage...
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Valerie - 45 West 45th Street, Midtown, New York City, NY