It is hard to find a restaurant that is both classy and cool. Raoul’s, a long-beloved French bistro in SoHo since the 1970s, probably fits that bill. The restaurant has somehow evaded my radar for a long time, but when an out-of-town friend came to visit, I figured this is the right time to finally make the trip. We went for a Sunday brunch, and I was already in love with the sexy décor with eye-catching and provocative photos and posters on the walls. The dining space oozes decadence and confidence at the same time. Add to the fact that the food is actually quite good here, and Raoul’s is the type of restaurant you would want to visit every once in a while.
The food at Raoul’s doesn’t scream trendy, modern French, but it shows how classic French bistro dishes should be done. Frisee salad with poached farm egg, lardons, pistachio and Raoul’s dressing will certainly impress you with the way that it’s really hard to find fault with the dish. It was a simple yet delightful dish that would start your meal on the right note. We also tried the delicious jumbo lump crab beignets with Fresno chile aioli, a brunch-only menu that was very flavorful without being overly heavy. Everyone is talking about good the burger at Raoul’s is, so obviously I had to give a try to the famed Raoul’s Burger. It was one of the better burgers I’ve had in the city, the beef patty perfectly cooked medium rare and a hint of spicy kick from watercress and pickles that perfectly neutralized what could’ve been a heavy dish. While I wouldn’t call this burger the best of the city just yet, it definitely belongs in the conversation on the NYC top burgers shortlist. We finished with simple crème brulee that had somewhat uneven temperature but still more or less worked for a dessert.
I’m not sure how difficult it is to get a reservation for dinner at Raoul’s, but the brunch seating is definitely more manageable. The restaurant has a full bar, and a glass of brunch cocktails like Bellini or Bloody Mary’s should do well to complement your meal. Sometimes, you need to go to classic establishments that have survived decades instead of all the latest, most trendiest restaurants for a change of scenery in your NYC dining experience. You won’t regret your dining experience at Raoul’s for a classic touch and showing out-of-towners what eating in the city is like.
- Creativity: 7.5/10
- Execution: 8.0/10
- Ingredients: 7.5/10
- Flavor: 8.0/10
- Texture: 8.0/10
Address: 180 Prince Street, New York, NY 10012
Telephone: (212) 966-3518