Wednesday, November 9, 201185 West Broadway New York, NY 10007
Plein Sud came to us as a brunch recommendation, but instead, we decided that a casual French brasserie was the perfect way to spend our ninth in November. Plus, we have not been to Tribeca in a while, so without further thought our ninth was set.
Plein Sud resides conveniently inside the Smyth Hotel, steps from Chambers Street station. Frederick Lesort, owner of seasoned restaurants Opia and Matisse, had the vision for Plein Sud even before the Smyth Hotel was finished being built. He must have decided that the city was ready for some more of his approachable French cuisine, driven this time by head chef Ed Cotton.
We decide to go sans taxi and catch the 1 train downtown. As we reach the top of the exit stairs we immediately spot the ‘Plein Sud’ marked windows. With a light skip in our step we make our way across the street barely realizing that this is also a hotel. A long bar greets us where we find a smiley hostess at the end. Unlike the bustling crowd in the bar, the restaurant is about a quarter full with diners who are well into their second course if not their last one.
We find ourselves at a large comfortable table for two and order glasses of bubbly at first sight of our waiter. Cheers to another month! The menu is straight forward, and with a little help from our knowledgeable server, we prep for escargot and calamari to start, with duck confit and scallops to follow. The food is completely acceptable without being impressive, but we seem to melt into a more relaxed state every minute: there is something to be said about not being pressured or not having to deal with a certain pretentiousness that is part of so many NYC restaurants.
We decide to enjoy two glasses of sauternes and share the floating island dessert, meringue floating on vanilla custard. The server comps one of our glasses of sauternes (which is a wonderful touch…and not cheap J) for being such a great table. This random act helps us sum up the politeness we have been experiencing all night. We decide to use the bathroom before heading out and discover a downstairs lounge complete with a 3-piece jazz band. Perhaps the comfort we feel is that this is easily more of a lounge scene after 9pm on a Wednesday. What will bring us back first, brunch or a cocktail, or perhaps both?
Experience: 6.5 / 9