Fabulous food, attentive staff and lovely decor, all centrally located in Midtown Manhattan. Really, what more could you ask for?
A relative newcomer to the kosher steakhouse scene, La Brochette opened this past fall on Lexington Avenue, between 39th and 40th Streets, at the site of the former Le Carne Grill. Israeli born owner Avi Cohen, who hails from a family of chefs and restaurateurs, had long dreamed of creating a top tier kosher restaurant, and scouting out the area, he found himself intrigued by Le Carne Grill, whose elegant facade and convenient location were exactly what he had envisioned for his planned upscale eatery. Several months later, Cohen was elated to discover that the property was available and with that, his dream became a reality, and La Brochette, with its extensive menu of sushi, hand-cut 28-day-aged steaks and an extensive wine list, was born.
La Brochette offers not only incredible food, prepared under the watchful eye of Chef Angel Ramirez, but a full dining experience. Walking through the restaurant’s double doors and past the fully stocked bar, you are immediately greeted by tasteful furnishings, beautiful lighting and music that is pleasantly audible without being overwhelming. The staff is warm, friendly and solicitous, yet never intrusive, and with four distinct seating areas, La Brochette is an ideal location for a business meal, a private party, a date or just a great meal. While the ambiance of a restaurant is certainly an integral part of any meal, clearly the food takes center stage, and La Brochette delivers on all counts.
The name La Brochette is a nod to Cohen’s Middle Eastern roots, alluding to a shish kabob skewer, but the restaurant is first and foremost a French steakhouse, albeit one with a dazzling sushi menu. While we didn’t taste the sushi on this trip to La Brochette, we had the pleasure of doing so at the restaurant’s official opening in early December and it was definitely a memorable experience. We had a clear view of the sushi chef from our table and watching him prepare the plates was an experience unto itself.
We started our meal with two baskets of French bread, both whole wheat and regular, and a small dish of herbed oil. According to our delightful waiter, Samuel, the oil was infused with parsley, basil, cilantro and a few other additions, which Chef Ramirez proclaimed to be a personal secret. The thinly sliced white loaf was still slightly warm and was incredibly good, but having eaten at La Brochette before, I knew not to overindulge in bread as the best was yet to come.
The first appetizer we enjoyed was the La Brochette Sampler, an artfully constructed sectioned plate consisting of four different offerings. The Peking duck confit, shredded duck in a fried won ton wrapper, was lightly seasoned and enjoyable. The crispy veal sweetbreads, in a delicate tempura batter with a balsamic reduction, were light and fluffy and practically melted in your mouth, accented nicely by an olive tapenade. The Wagyu Angus beef brochette, with succulent, bite sized beef cubes, pearl onions, peppers, and cherry tomatoes was brushed with a chimichurri sauce and was nothing short of outstanding. The short rib spring rolls were equally amazing, with beautifully seasoned bourbon marinated ribs and accented with a barbeque ranch sauce. Our generous portion of the soup of the day, a beef mushroom barley soup, was the perfect choice for a cold winter’s night. Other options included a variety of intriguing salads, several soups, steak tartare, a charcuterie board and a Mediterranean platter, with prices ranging from $12 to $36.
The wait staff continued their excellent service throughout the night, grinding fresh pepper over our plates, decrumbing the table, refilling our water glasses and most notably, offering helpful suggestions through the evening. Interestingly enough, our waiter tailored his recommendations to us, offering me choices that included both steaks and slightly lighter fare, while steering my husband more towards the meat and potatoes. The menu had a nice variety of choices, with several fish and chicken options, pasta, duck à l’orange, veal, a 10 ounce burger, and more, with prices ranging from $24 to $58 and assorted steaks at $32 to $52. Taking Samuel’s advice, my husband went with the prime rib with a side of whipped garlic mashed potatoes, while I went with the black Angus steak and mixed vegetables. Both were excellent choices.
The prime rib was melt-in-your-mouth delicious, soft and juicy and perfectly done, while the garlic mashed potatoes were pillowy soft and judiciously seasoned. The black Angus steak was succulent, thick and a joy to eat. We sampled four different sauces to accompany our steaks: Bernaise, truffle mushroom, a red wine reduction and a beef glaze reduction. All were simply fabulous and while my husband’s favorite was the slightly citrusy beef glaze reduction, I could have happily taken a spoon and eaten the red wine reduction on its own. My lightly seasoned mixed vegetables, consisting of haricot verts, white asparagus, broccoli and carrots, were stellar as was our spectacular side of wild mushrooms.
The dessert menu featured a lovely selection of homemade creations including fresh fruit, sorbets and ice cream, cheesecake, chocolate lava cake and apple crisp. The creme brulee, served with ladyfingers and topped with sliced strawberry and fresh mint leaves, was a lovely end to a standout meal. The tiramisu was truly spectacular, a magnificent square of espresso soaked ladyfingers, layered with whipped cream and dusted with cocoa. In addition to coffee, espresso, cappuccino, tea and iced coffee, there was a nice selection of cordials and cognacs to finish off the meal.
Most noticeable throughout the evening was that all of the foods were lightly seasoned to accent their natural goodness, but never overwhelmed by spices or sauces. Clearly the secret to La Brochette’s success is that their high quality ingredients are the stars of the show, expertly prepared so that each one truly shines.
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340 Lexington, New York, NY
Certified by the Orthodox Union.
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