With a mind-blowingly large number of restaurants in NYC, it is not quite easy to re-visit a restaurant unless there was something that makes me go back on my first visit. I haven’t had a chance to make a second visit to the charming Provencal bistro Claudette in Greenwich Village largely because there were other restaurants ahead of the list and also while the food at Claudette was over delicious, there weren’t enough factors that made me think of this restaurant again other than the charming vibe. When a couple that I frequently dine out with said they haven’t tried this place, I took that as an opportunity to see how the kitchen has evolved over time since its opening in 2014, when the restaurant was one of the harder tables to secure.
The menu format at Claudette hasn’t changed much, consisting of some light vegetables, cheese and meat plates, appetizers and large dishes. I do recommend getting a couple of fresh vegetable dishes to start the meal here, such as the roasted beets with walnuts and watermelon radishes or cauliflower with cherry tomatoes and coriander. By now, I’ve had countless octopus dishes in the city, but the charred octopus with chickpeas, harissa and parsley is one of the better ones with very nice balance of flavor and texture.
The main dishes that we ordered were all successful as well. Rabbit cavatelli with black olive rabbit ragu, guanciale and smoked onion had the rustic touch that I very much enjoyed, and black angus rib-eye was also juicy and tender while working quite harmoniously with roasted potatoes and scallions on the side without too much seasoning that could’ve undermined the texture of the meat. Grilled branzino was also fantastic in its simple form without too much salt. All of the main dishes were better than the ones that I had had last time (chicken tagine and bouillabaisse), and really showcased the light yet soulful personality of the food of southern France. For dessert, stick with French classics and order the decadent ile flottante with vanilla crème anglaise, caramel and hazelnuts praline.
Getting a reservation at Claudette is now easier than when the restaurant first opened, but the restaurant was still relatively packed on a Tuesday night. As with my previous visit, I was in love with the very European décor of the restaurant that makes you think you’re sitting at a café somewhere in southern France, with handsome and well-dressed crowd. Claudette has a full bar with extensive French-centric wine selections paying homage to the region that inspired this restaurant. Sometimes, the magic of first-time visit isn’t quite there at a restaurant that I re-visit, but I would say Claudette is an exception. I was overall pretty pleased with the Provencal fare at the restaurant, even more so than my previous visit.
- Creativity: 8.0/10
- Execution: 8.5/10
- Ingredients: 8.0/10
- Flavor: 8.5/10
- Texture: 8.0/10
Address: 24 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011
Telephone: (212) 868-2424