One enters the Brasserie with mild trepidation. Will my jeans, my two-day stubble, and my Midwestern wife find our place amidst the fine tableware, the liveried waitstaff, and the Choux-fleur (milk roasted cauliflower…) and Caneton Saisonneir (maple leaf duck confit…)? Will, for that matter, the “French-inspired” cuisine find its place within ours, the Western faux-sophisticates’, discerning gut? Yes and yes.
For nowhere else in our unique plainstown cosmopolis is Low welcomed so warmly into High, nor rewarded so openly with tastes that beguile but do not confound and with service that respects but does not pander. For dinner, the New York Strip deserves a nod, but your mood may just as fruitfully lead you to the ravioli, the duck, or the chicken (all of which are known by their fancy French aliases, of course.) Keeping things Continental, escargot and beef tartare make welcome appearances on the side board, as do mussels in several varieties, oysters, crepes, and the appetizing charcuteries that seem to have been recently discovered by every place in town with even a passing connection to Tuscany or Provence but which the Brasserie has been doing for years, and doing well.
If, despite my assurances, you find yourself intimidated by the Frenchiness of it all, the restaurant’s lunch and brunch menus offer appealing variants on the core fare without the all-in commitment of The Full Montmartre. And when you do return for dinner within three month’s time, don’t shave or dress up if you don’t want to, and don’t cringe when your wife pronounces poulet with a hard T. It won’t matter one delicious lick.