502 Sixth Ave (bet. 12th & 13th Sts)
City: New York, NY
Phone: (212) 691-1363
Site: Visit the restaurant site
2nd Cuisine: Moroccan
Area: Greenwich Village
It's cute, it's French and the atmosphere is highly conducive to having a very pleasant meal whether you live in the area or not. True, the décor (red vinyl banquettes, little café tables) is kinda generic but the menu offers some surprises by way of Morocco. The Moroccan spiced meatballs win kudos as does the chicken tagine. The bisteeya, a dish made with puff pastry that encloses chicken is well-made and other Arab-inspired delights turn up in the form of Moroccan shrimp served with tomato cous cous or the appetizer featuring three dips: moutabel, hummus and a white bean dip that is the right consistency.
My lunch special recently was a very un-Moroccan sandwich of corned beef with Swiss cheese and coleslaw served pressed in the manner of a Panini, accompanied by a flurry of Moroccan-spiced potato chips (read spicy.) The table next to me was raving about the onion soup which looked delicious. Other starters include lobster and avocado with harrisa sauce, that blindingly hot Moroccan wonder (great if eaten in small doses); kale salad with roast beets, quinoa and ricotta or the whole globe artichoke served chilled with citrus aioli. Oysters are almost always on the menu, the type and price subject to the market.
The hamburger here is a perpetual favorite--big and juicy with a side of hand-cut fries. Steak frite is also a crowd pleaser as is the salmon that comes grilled to order with haricot vert, sweet corn and more of those beets. The Moroccan mergez emerges as a sandwich cloaked in pita with a yogurt sauce that sets off the sausage well.
For dessert you can plunge into a spiced pear crumble with ice cream; banana bisteeya in which fruit replaces meat which works fine because the dish is sweetish in any capacity; or profiteroles awash in chocolate.
Brunch-goers enjoy the Croque Monsieur or Madame or various egg dishes and salads. There's a late night happy hour from 11 PM to 1 Am when draft beers are $4, some house wines are $6 and the house cocktails (French 75, Bloody Mary, Barr Hill Bee's Knees with gin, lemon, honey and rosemary and others) clock in at $8. Sunday evenings bring jazz starting at 8 PM. There Is a reasonable number of both red and white wines by the glass as well as a selection of bottled beers but basically, this is a place to drop in for a meal or a snack with a nice glass or wine and linger chatting with a friend. Lunch weekdays runs 11am-4pm; Dinner Sundays through Thursday from 5 pm-1am and until 2 am Fridays and Saturdays and brunch is Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 4 pm All major credit cards.
Review By: Mari Gold