New York City has seen a growing number of gastropub style bars/restaurants that serve a lot of compelling foods as well as drinks at the same time. It makes a lot of sense. When you go on casual outings/dates, you don’t want to break the bank but at the same time you want to have a memorable experience with food while imbibing some creative cocktails or exotic wines put together at the bar. The catchy Excuse My French had that promising outlook where I stepped in and immediately absolutely fell in love with the cozy space that makes you feel like you’re at an exclusive lounge somewhere in Paris. On the other hand, my meal had a lot of mixed results.
The menu at Excuse My French is what the place calls “French tapas,” focusing on shareable small plates, starting with various charcuterie and cheese options. Iberico ham that my dining companion and I had tried was pedestrian, and the tartine of figs and goat cheese wasn’t particularly memorable either. Some dishes had bold flavor that worked quite well. Sautéed Brussels sprouts with lamb merguez which the bartender highly recommended as the signature dish had nice touch that would make for a nice vegetable meal, and my favorite menu of the night was organic Cajun chicken with ratatouille and quinoa, with the chicken more or less cooked quite well and working harmoniously with the texture of quinoa for definitely an above-average dish.
On the other hand, I couldn’t finish sea scallop carpaccio with salmon caviar and yuzu as the freshness was quite lacking in the seafood, and boudin blanc sausage with caramelized apple came out in unexpectedly lukewarm temperature with soggy texture. It is a bit unfortunate that the dishes didn’t quite have the imagination or creativity to be extra special, and the execution tended to be more often inconsistent than I had hoped.
Excuse My French doesn’t take reservations, and the adorable space is tiny, so I would suggest showing up early. There is full bar with some happy hour discounts for wine, but my suggestion is to sip on one or two cocktails that the bartender quite aptly put together. I would definitely come back here to try more drinks, and the vibe of this place will definitely invite me back. For serious dinner, however, I might consider trying other places in the bustling LES neighborhood.
- Creativity: 6.5/10
- Execution: 7.0/10
- Ingredients: 7.0/10
- Flavor: 7.5/10
- Texture: 7.5/10
Address: 96 Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002
Telephone: (212) 780-9600