Bagatelle is European chic. Though the menu is French inspired, the walls are covered in the vibrant, Neo-pop pieces by Dutch artist Selwyn Senatori. Despite all of this, Bagatelle still offers a level of class that is trademark in New York dining and nightlife. Upon entering, you can't help but notice the clean, white bar and the cool vibe that pervades. Sexy lighting, attractive French waiters, and the best salmon tartare my tongue has ever tasted are just a few reasons why Bagatelle is THE restaurant of the Meatpacking district.
I met some friends on a Friday night for dinner and immediately starting slurping down the rose sangria, which is beautiful in color and even more pleasing to the palate. I felt instant refreshment. When we finally got around to the food, we opted to share some dishes so as to get a full variety of flavors. I recommend this method to all future diners. What arrived was the most satisfying of meals. The butter lettuce salad is delicate under flakes of Parmesan cheese and a sturdy mustard vinaigrette. I couldn't consume enough until the truffle gnocchi arrived to the table. Soft, sensual - each potato plump with a black truffle and pesto filling that literally melts in your mouth in creamy delight. I'm not the biggest fan of truffle, but even the truffle sauce on top is not overpowering; it complements.
Now for my Tartare aux Deux Saumon; my sweet, pink baby, the stuff of dreams that I can't get out of my head. It must be the quality of the salmon that sets this dish apart. Filled in a quaint glass jar, this precious fish, both smoked and cooked, is diced with shallot, just waiting for a slather of dill creme fraiche. Fresh olive oil crostinis are provided as the final component to this unbelievable dish, but I couldn't resist digging my fork straight in. Though we could barely hold more in our stomachs, I found room for some generous bites of the whole roasted chicken. They should charge extra just to look at it. It sure is gorgeous. Tender, juicy meat surrounded by potatoes soaked in chicken jus that are as exquisite as butter. I was melting over this dish for two that can easily serve more. It definitely wasn't cheap but I swear it was worth every cent.
There is a reason people take their time savoring the food here. Around 11 pm, the atmosphere is amplified. The music (and bass) are turned up and folks just can't keep to their chairs. My girlfriends, Bagatelle frequenters, knew the drill and jumped up in our booth and started dancing. The brunch party that Bagatelle is famous for sees no reason to confine the partying to the daytime hours, and frankly I don't either!
The whole experience at Bagatelle is worth the encounter. Whether you seek a delightful French meal, an excellent drink, or place to kick up your heels, Bagatelle should be next on your list. If you wish to do all three, then stop whatever your doing and head to Little West 12th Street!