Monday, November 2, 2009

Making the Magic Happen with Paradou

Alright, it's about time I stopped TALKING about reviving SPF and actually did something about it. I started to feel overwhelmed about all the delicious places I was eating and finding a way to post about it all, so instead I'm going to scrap that for now and just post about my most recent dining experience. I'll hopefully have time to do a Retroactive Roundup sometime in the near future to clear my guilty conscience.

Yesterday I planned to brunch with my friend L, and we wanted to go somewhere new instead of hitting up old standbys. I asked around, and one of my coworkers directed me to Paradou, located on Little West 12th Street in the Meatpacking District. I am rarely in this area (although I recently attended a birthday party on Washington that was quite fun), so I thought it would be a nice change of scenery. I called the day before and made a reservation for 2:15 p.m. (day after Halloween, people).

The entrance is easy to spot, but a little difficult to navigate (I had trouble opening the huge pastel blue wooden doors, but eventually figured things out). We were seated promptly in the back outdoor dining area, which was covered with a tent and boasted a heated floor. It's beautiful and has great lightning, so I think it would also be a totally gorgeous place to eat at night or even on a chilly winter day. They also had Christmas lights up, so that's probably not an impossible option.

My coworker touted this place as having the best brunch she'd ever eaten in the city, and part of the reason was their champagne brunch option. Unlimited champagne plus an entree for a mere $29. Did I hear unlimited? Yes please!

The best thing about this option is that it doesn't have to be straight champagne; the brunch applies to champagne cocktails as well. I had two bellinis and they were perfectly blended, just strong enough to keep me pleasantly buzzed for a few hours. If you choose not to do the champagne brunch, the menu items are reasonably priced at $11-$16 with $6 sides. If you choose carefully, you could definitely have a great brunch here for under $20.

For my entree, I chose the "Sassy Sausage Sandwich," which featured spicy andouille sausage with grilled onions and a sweet chestnut spread. I also got a side of potato gratin. L ordered French Toast with a side of bacon.

Our waiter was friendly, although they didn't keep an eye on our drinks as well as I would have liked (I had to flag someone down to get a refill after my glass had been empty for awhile). Besides being slightly inattentive though, the staff was great and very polite. Plus, brunch is a meal where you like to linger anyway, so it didn't really bother me. They didn't try to hustle us out either, which was nice.

The food was also delicious. I wasn't as over the moon for it as I expected to be after my coworker built it up (or as over the moon as I am about Elephant & Castle or Sarabeth's), but it was DEFINITELY amazing. The sandwich was great and the potato gratin was especially good, cut kind of like a slice of pie with several layers of potato that were perfectly flavored. The potatoes that came with my meal, however, were sparse, if tasty. I would have liked to have been advised that the meal came with potatoes, because it was not indicated on the menu. I probably would have chosen a different side had I known this. Although maybe that's a bad thing, since the potato gratin was so good...

I tried L's French Toast, and that was good as well. The bacon was crispy without being burned, and the blueberries tasted fresh with a hint of added sweetness that I thought added just the right taste.

So, the moral of the story is that I would definitely recommend this place. I'm even thinking of going back this weekend with my sister, so that's a good indication if I'm already craving it again. The atmosphere really makes it a great choice as well, and the friendly service helps! It's also kind of out of the way, so it feels more private and leisurely. Plus, tons of great (expensive) boutiques offer post-brunch shopping just around the corner. Great place!

Next up (hopefully): an entry about Fette Sau, the BBQ place in Williamsburg. I ate there on Friday and it was divine!

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