Provençe in Greenwich Village
“Provençal cooking is based on garlic. The air in Provençe is impregnated with the aroma of garlic, which makes it very healthful to breathe. Garlic is the main seasoning in bouillabaisse and in the principal sauces of the region. A sort of mayonnaise is made with it by crushing it in oil, and this is eaten with fish and snails. The lower classes in Provençe often lunch on a crust of bread sprinkled with oil and rubbed with garlic.”
—from ‘Grand Dictionnaire de Cuisine’
by Alexandre Dumas, père (1802-1870)
The French name of this restaurant, which faces Fifth Avenue’s Gold Coast, gives a good indication that the menu would follow suit. Indeed, the menu items have been influenced by cooking from France’s Provençe region.
As for the heavy-handed use of garlic, as Monsieur Dumas writes about, I did not taste any in my beet and baby arugula appetizer or in the Ratatouille Tarte that I enjoyed as an entrée. Too bad: I do like garlic! My dining companion enjoyed his chicken tagine. The best part of the meal was dessert. I was in heaven savoring the three scoops of cardamom-flavored ice cream. C’est magnifique!
For me the entire dining experience at Claudette was delightful. The surroundings were comfortable and charming. The wait staff was helpful and efficient. The food was excellent. I recommend making reservations. When I have passed Claudette in the evening, the place is packed!
I hope that the owners, Carlos Suarez and Mark Barak, have another hit on their hands; it certainly feels that way. They have already scored big with their other Greenwich Village culinary ventures, Rosemary’s and Bobo. I hope that Claudette follows that trend. Located on the ground floor of the apartment house at 24 Fifth Avenue, Claudette could break the run of bad luck for this space, which has seen restaurants come and go. Bonne chance!
Address 24 Fifth Avenue
Directions Ride bus numbers 1, 2, 3 or 5 directly down Fifth Avenue. Exit at the 10th Street stop. Walk one block to the corner of Ninth Street and Fifth. Ride the #1 subway train to Christopher Street. Walk along Christopher, against the traffic, to Sixth Avenue, which you will cross to West Ninth Street, and walk one block. Ride the #6 local subway train to Astor Place. Walk along East Eighth Street, against the traffic, to Fifth Avenue. Walk one block up Fifth Avenue, against the traffic, to the corner of West Ninth Street and Fifth Avenue.
Cuisine French influenced, specifically Proveçal
ALL PHOTOS AND TEXT © THE AUTHOR 2014–2018