New York Chronicles: Pastis

The French Bistro with the New York Soul

Eat, Travel, USA  /   /  By Annie

Pastis is the name of the iconic bar and restaurant that was created by Keith McNally to emulate the vibe of a 1930’s Parisian brasserie. Wonderfully for him, this pewter-counter and rusty-mirror establishment is now loved by regular folk and celebrities alike. While they were originally famous for their wines and the apéritifs associated with its namesake, their brunch menu has risen to equal stardom.

Wondering if you’ve seen or heard of it somewhere? If you are a fan of Sex and the City, no doubt you may remember Carrie and Samantha speaking of making reservations there. More significantly, this spot was also where Carrie had brunch with “the Russian”. Ah, the Russian. The Russian and all his friends who were too pretentious for Carrie and didn’t think she qualified as a writer. Ha ha.

Knowing that nothing makes an experience like brunch less enjoyable than a touristy crowd (good luck ever getting a spot for dinnertime without a reservation), we strategically showed up on a Monday morning. Julien (not to be confused with Chu Crew Julian) greeted us with a charming smile and immediately offered to take my little suitcase to be put in the back. (Chu Crew) Julian and I then sat down for two of the best café au laits ever.
 
With a Parisian ham-and-cheese-filled croissant ($9, pictured above), my dining partner was as happy as a clam. 
 
I got to have more than my fill with an order of the Eggs Norwegian ($18), a benedict made with organic poached eggs, served atop smoked Norwegian salmon and topped with Hollandaise sauce. Sneakily, you will also find some delicious potatoes popping underneath and bursting with flavour. The secret? They fry everything in peanut oil. Please take note for those with serious allergies.
 
Sourcing their breads and pastries from their sister establishment Balthazar Bakery, you know you can’t go wrong with a pain au chocolat or brioche for the road either.
 
 
Final Thoughts: The only unfortunate thing about the restaurant was that the outside was under reconstruction, hence, the lack of a proper key photo. In fact, you can even see the scaffolding from my picture above. While the food can be quite rich, it is also equally refined and just oozing with character. Whether you go because you like French food or you’re trying to catch Katie Holmes and Suri on a day off, the pop cultural significance is worth it alone. As I was walking away, I laughed as I heard myself nonchalantly humming the lyrics to Les Yeux Ouverts…this kind of a place will do that kind of a thing to you.
 
Location: Meatpacking District, Manhattan
 
Please note: First photo sourced from New York Post, and second sourced from Sex and the City archives. Pastis is permanently closed, but they have plans to reopen soon.
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