Cuisine: French , New American
Menu: View the Menu
It can be all too easy to overlook Fillip’s, the charming, semi-formal and slightly petite French-American eatery nestled on Seventh Avenue among such more casual and bustling eateries as Il Bastardo, Salsa y Salsa, and Regional Thai. But pass by this year-old restaurant, which is far from stuffy, at your own risk – since there’s little better eating to be found anywhere in the area.Review By: Brian Scott Lipton
The credit belongs squarely to young chef Brian Bieler, most recently a veteran of Compass, who uses seasonal ingredients (many from the Union Square Greenmarket) in his beautifully composed dishes. If you want to see and taste the full breadth of Bieler’s talent, order the daily tasting menu, which can be paired with appropriate wines if you so choose. Most of the dishes on our sampling were also on the main menu, where the portions are sometimes (though not always) larger
A perfect starter for a humid summer evening was Bieler’s feather-light rendition of Vichysoisse – an evening special. The potato-leek-and-cream cold soup got just the right added oomph from a small smattering of Osetra caviar and just a pinch of nutmeg. That was followed by a perfectly cooked diver scallop accented by a few slices of perfectly fresh citrus fruit. A third starter, equally triumphant, combined warm early summer asparagus with baby arugula, frisee, and slices of piquant Romesco cheese in a lovely sherry vinaigrette.
I would never have ordered braised pork belly, since my few previous encounters with the dish were unpleasant. But not only did Bieler get me to eat every last bite with his tender and un-gamy take on the pig, I even downed every last lentil that came with it (another previous non-favorite). What’s Bieler’s secret? Cooking the lentils in chicken stock and adding bits of Granny Smith Apple and bacon. On the other hand, one never has to ask me twice about duck breast, and Bieler scored again with a delicious piece of fowl crowned with pine nuts and set atop sublime broccoli rabe.
Fitting in dessert after such a feast wasn’t easy, but Bieler – who’s also the pastry chef – found the winning ticket: a gorgeous buttery heirloom apple tart accompanied by homemade vanilla bean ice cream. It would’ve been a sin to leave even a single morsel over. So I didn’t. Neither will you!
Entree Price: $20-25
Payment: Accepts Credit Cards
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