Keith McNally’s Cherche Midi opened three days ago (June 12) in my neighborhood. The location is the former space of Pulino’s
at the corner of Bowery & Houston. I made a last minute reservation for six at 8:30pm on Saturday
night. As soon as I walked in I realized the place looked just like Pulino’s. Keith McNally owned an Italian restaurant called Pulino’s
that closed in February this year. I guess they didn’t change the interior very much. The bar, dining area, and kitchen are all the same. Even the basement bathroom is the same with its cute mini-tile floors. The only differences I could find were that there was no outside seating and the lighting was much warmer making it feel like a French bistro. The bartender gave us a free shot to welcome us while we waited at the bar for our table. 🙂
Once we were seated, I started my dinner by ordering a cocktail made with egg white. It was yummy~
We ordered three appetizers to share and each of us ordered different entrees. My entree was Whole Grilled Daurade with crispy herba – $34. I have to say, the best choice from the entree menu!! The fish was simply grilled and came in a large portion. It was seasoned with whole thyme and rosemary, brushed with olive oil, and served with grilled lemon on the side. After I opened the fish in half, I brushed it with oil using the herb stems, then squeezed lemon all over it. Besides my Daurade, I had bites of the Skate Fish, Lobster Ravioli, Steak Frites, and Salmon. They are all good, but nothing special.
Ratings for the appetizers:
The HAMACHI CRUDO w. yuzu, radish and shiso ($15) was light and tasty. I thought the portion size was very fair.
The PAN-ROASTED FOIE GRAS w. toasted baguette and a watercress salad ($19) It turned out to be plain pieces of watercress other than “salad’. The fois gras was good, but the baguette was very dry. None of us ended up eating it. The portion size was very small for the price. Overall, I would not recommend it.
The SAUTEED SARDINES over grilled country bread with saffron aioli and pickled shallots ($14) was just ok. Again, I would not recommend it.
I saw a posting with the FROG LEG green garlic veloute, garlic chips, crisp parsley ($19) on Instagram and it looked very good. We didn’t order it, but maybe that would be a better choice of an appetizer if you visit. Although I think $19 is very pricey for frog, so that’s your call! (I don’t care for frog dishes, but I had one of the best frog dishes at Le Philosoph
In Noho that I blogged about a few years ago.)
We definitely had a great time and we were glad to check out this new place, but none of us were impressed. Also, we ate here many times back when it was Pulino’s so it almost didn’t feel like a new place. Yes, I know it sounds like I’m a jaded foodie NYker, but it’s true!!! However, I would like to patrol again if they start serving breakfast since my neighborhood doesn’t have many breakfast spots.
PS– My friend Dr Anthony had PAN-SEARED SALMON lentils, cumin-scented yogurt and greens. #BAM Heathy choice!!! Omega 3 🙂