The French Brasserie
The dining room at The French Brasserie balances trademark Parisian charm (red leather banquettes, bentwood chairs, marble bar) with striking contemporary accents, such as towering Moroccan-style screens and exposed pipes that snake across the double-height ceilings. Wine appears at every turn, from backlit cabinets and a wall of champagne bottles to bar shelves that stretch towards the lofty ceiling. While deals are done over the linen-topped tables, a mezzanine beckons for intimate gatherings.
Entrees span garlicky snails, punchy French onion soup and freshly chopped steak tartare crowned with a golden egg yolk. Mains are decidedly meat-y. Take your pick of eye fillet, hanger or minute steak; pork belly with a black-pudding croquette; or cassoulet of confit duck leg and Toulouse sausage. Lighter, brighter options include bouillabaisse and fish of the day, perhaps served with prawns and a zippy orange gel. Whichever way you swing it, a side of crisp frites is a must.
Old faithfuls fill the dessert menu too, such as crème brûlée and chocolate mousse, the latter given a nod to now with a scoop of salted caramel ice cream.
The expansive wine list features a handful of affordable local drops in among the vintage champagnes and grand cru Burgundies. At $35 for two courses and a glass of wine, the express lunch will please those who are watching the clock - and aren’t dining out on the company credit card.