By Lauren Clarke-Bennett
Amidst the hustle and bustle of the city streets one appreciates the calm fulfillment of a welcoming restaurant with delicious food at Le Midi Bar & Restaurant.
Upon walking into the East Village eatery one is struck with it’s almost Zen like atmosphere and a smattering of the ‘Country French’ flavor its menu boasts.
Ideally, owner Andrew Song and his partner Alix Miller who live in London have future plans for the interior but for now they are totally focused on the gastronomic experience. Their motto under the watchful eye of Marwan Halabi, formerly of Montparnass and Tavern On The Green, ‘Start with good food’ simple yet so smart in a world of dress it up and let’s hope it passes muster.
Born in Korea to an ‘Elder’ in the Methodist Church then moving to Detroit, Song went on to the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton and the University of Chicago undergrad to eventually work at Goldman Sachs as a derivative trader.
Initially an investor in Le Midi, he realized that too much money was being spent in the wrong places. So he went back to the basics of buying high quality fare, pairing them with superb country French seasonings and voila, dishes that exceed ones expectations; all at a reasonable cost.
An avid world traveler and oenophile, Song has an impressive wine collection (that again won’t break the bank), which he enthusiastically suggests pairing with his cuisine.
As we sat for a luncheon that lasted well into the late afternoon our first culinary taste was the divine French onion soup with just the right amount of sweet and just the right amount of hearty.
Followed was the Frisee Salad with poached egg, croutons and vinaigrette which all worked in a flavorful symphony. We started the wine pairing with a magnificent peppery Cotes Du Rhone at $38 a bottle that is classified as ‘Biodynamic’; organically grown under the Rudolf Steiner philosophy of holistic farming. Then on to the melt in your mouth buttery escargot and tomato Goat Cheese Tarte with a lovely flaky pie crust.
For the main course a smooth superior Bordeaux, Chateaux de Macard paired with the Ravioles aux Champignon that had the perfect amount of Shitaki mushrooms and then the heavenly Coq au Vin was served with only dark meat to ensure tenderness in every bite. Next, one of my favorites, tilefish with clams at $24 was laced with Pancetta and paired with a divine dry French Malbec.
Finishing up with a beautifully balance Tarte au Citrine and scrumptious Profiteroles we knew we had experienced the South of France with a touch of Asia, in the middle of Manhattan. With a smile on our faces we agreed, “All in a day’s work, all in a day’s work.”
11 East 13th St.
NYC, NY 10003