Happy Independence Day! This is by far one of my favorite days to be in the city. The fireworks (both legal and illegal), the big “we outside” energy, the ample parking. You love to see it. So make the most of the holiday, even if it’s just lazing around and catching up on “Love Island UK” to remind you why we wanted independence in the first place.
But today we’re talking about this month’s batch of reader questions. We have a query about where to take a son and brand-new son-in-law for a celebratory dinner in Brooklyn; another about lunch options near the Museum of Modern Art; and a reader who wants to know where to find a great baguette. Unintentionally, this newsletter is a bit French!
As always, please send your own questions or responses to [email protected], and you may see them featured here.
A Brooklyn celebration
My son and his longtime partner surprised me with the wonderful news of their City Hall marriage last week! Since we didn’t have a formal wedding or reception, I would like to surprise them with a celebratory dinner at someplace special. They are longtime residents of Brooklyn and always take me to delightful restaurants when I visit them from Georgia. My new son-in-law is a pescatarian, but my son has no restrictions. Please help, I don’t know where to start. — Paula R.
Paula, you’re such a cool parent, and mazel! Here’s wishing those crazy kids every happiness. If you want to really impress them with your sudden expertise in Brooklyn restaurants — no need to credit me — consider taking them to dinner at the aptly named Place des Fêtes, in Clinton Hill. There are good options for pescatarians: The chilled section of the menu is all seafood, including mussels en verde and sardine toast with smoked butter. (Halibut in brown butter for an entree?) And it’s on one of my favorite streets in all of Brooklyn, Greene Avenue, which will make for a perfect post-dinner summertime walk.
My school buddies are coming in from D.C. to visit and we are going to MoMA to see Georgia O’Keeffe. We are six and I always take them somewhere off the beaten path. What would you suggest for lunch? Believe it or not, we all eat anything! — Madly W.
Do you have time for a very quick story? When I was in grad school, one of my professors took us to Le Bernardin to meet the chef Eric Ripert, who was really warm and friendly. Mr. Ripert recommended we head to La Bonne Soupe, on West 55th Street (and just two blocks north of MoMA), for lunch. So I’m going to pay his kindness forward and advise you to do the same, even if it’s not exactly off the beaten path: It’s an exceedingly charming French restaurant that isn’t overly fussy, makes a mean French onion soup and croque madame, and its new owner hired a new, French-born chef to zhuzh the menu up without disturbing any of the charm that’s made it a go-to lunch option since 1973.
Where do they keep the good baguettes?
Where in Manhattan can I buy French baguettes as good as those in France? Or, “ça n’existe pas?” — Anthony L.
Bien sûr, we have great baguettes here! Downtown, I’d recommend checking out Le Fournil, in the East Village. It’s run by Jean-François Hebert, a man with a name and a pedigree (Félix and Cafe du Soleil) you can trust. Uptown, you might consider Julien Boulangerie, home of New York’s cube croissant, but also a very, very good baguette. They have three locations on the Upper East Side and one in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
In Other News …
This week, Pete Wells reviews Raf’s, a restaurant from the chefs of the Musket Room where “the cooking is so different it’s often hard to believe the same person is in charge,” he writes. The abundance at Raf’s can be explained by the bread oven, where almost everything is cooked.
Openings: Adrienne’s, a family restaurant named for a young chef who died last summer, brings tastes of Southern Italy to the Rockaways; Dan Kluger expands his Greywind businesses with a bakery near Hudson Yards; and MotherShuckers has opened a stand in the Pier 57 food hall.
This month, the influential Roscioli family, who run a small culinary empire in Rome, will open a location in SoHo, reports Julia Moskin. This first outpost for the business will bring their famous pastas, all Roman classics, to Manhattan.
“This is, like, puppies and rainbows.” Amelia Nierenberg talks with chefs to learn what “The Bear” gets right — and what it paints considerably rosier than reality — about interning at a fine-dining restaurant.
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