Artisanal Fromagerie Bistro – LOST GEM
The feel of a French brasserie—with interesting twists—is immediately apparent in both the menu and the décor. I have eaten at Artisanal on several occasions, and as soon as we are seated, I always request at least one, if not two orders of gougeres for the table. These are small cheese wonders that simply melt in my mouth every time. After that, everyone is left on their own to select whatever they would like. Cheese certainly takes center stage at Artisanal, beginning in the back of the room where their shop is set up, accompanied by the in-house cheese “Sommelier” or “Fromager,” to guide customers. And in the corner—formerly a bank vault—is the cheese cave. With special seating for four, the dining experience is enhanced by the aroma of fine cheeses. Also, take note of the specific shelving that organizes the cheeses in this temperature-controlled environment. Of course, there is onion soup, steak frites, duck, oysters and other French classics on the menu, but the two delectable side dishes that I continuously rave about are the spinach gratin and the mac & cheese. It is essential to leave room for dessert, as the deliciousness continues – the chocolate fondue and the profiteroles are luscious. Overall, the food is divine, but so is the sense of being transported to Paris for a few hours, with the knowledge that once I step back onto the pavement, I am, once again, on the wondrous side streets of Manhattan.