DINING OUT: Flavor of France enchants Bay Ridge

October 14, 2011 Helen Klein
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Bon appetit!

French home cooking – which relies on fresh ingredients handledwith care to shine in dishes that are traditional but never old -has come home to Bay Ridge at the newly reopened St. Germain.

Chef-owner Vincent Tropepe, a Bay Ridge native who enjoyedeating in the restaurant and purchased in part because he wanted topreserve its ambiance and traditional Gallic flavor, has broughthis deft touch to the classic bistro dishes that generations offood-lovers have come to enjoy, from Bouillabaisse ($24 at dinner)- a shellfish stew redolent of saffron – to Steak Frite ($22 atdinner), the time-honored combination of a perfectly cooked steakand fried potatoes.

The Poulet Cordon Bleu ($17 at dinner) was rich and elegantlyserved, with two paillards of chicken rolled up with ham andcheese, enhanced by a mustard cream sauce.

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The fish meuniere ($21 at dinner) – flounder was the fish of theday, though halibut is the usual choice – was tender and flavorful,the delicate flavor of the fish enhanced by a lemon butter sauceand a topping of crisp cooked green beans and stewed tomatoes.

The appetizers and side dishes were equally pleasing.

Soupe a l’Oignon ($8 at dinner; $8.50 at brunch)is a fragrantand flavorful interpretation of the French standard, an elixir richwith caramelized onions and crusty French bread that has beensubmerged in the soup, served in a crock blanketed by meltedgruyere cheese.

Ravioli au Fromage de Chevre ($10 at dinner) – goat cheeseravioli topped with meaty strips of Portobello mushrooms and bathedin a Cognac-spiked sauce – were satisfying without beingfilling.

The Ratatouille ($5, side dish at dinner) offered a fresh takeon the classic vegetable dish – with the eggplant and tomatoesmeltingly tender, and the little cubes of peppers and zucchiniproviding a satisfying crunch.

Lunchtime brings a range of appealing options, all $12 on theprix fixe menu, served with a side of pommes frites, and a choiceof salad or soup of the day.

Choose from sandwiches such as Blanc de Poulet de Citron,grilled chicken breast in a lemon dressing, enhanced by avocado,tomato and other vegetable; brunch-style dishes such as EggsFlorentine, featuring poached eggs with spinach and Hollandaisesauce; or elegant crêpes filled with such natural partners as hamand Swiss cheese or spinach and goat cheese, as well as a couple ofsweet options – Strawberry and Nutella Crêpe and orangy CrêpeSuzette, filled with cream, and spiked with Grand Marnier.

The $17.95 prix fixe brunch includes an entrée, a dessert, andtwo beverages – one hot and one cold. Offerings range fromomelettes to crêpes, as well as a couple of savory sandwiches andFrench toast. A limited menu of a la carte options is alsoavailable at brunch.

Pastry lovers will find much to admire and sample in St.Germain’s ample glass showcase. I sampled the Chocolate andBlackberry Mousse, which was as pleasing to the eye as it was tothe palate, comprising light-as-air mousse on a bed of chocolatecake, glazed with blackberry conserve and wrapped inlattice-patterned sponge cake, and the Raspberry Mousse Dome,singing with raspberry flavor, which glistened thanks to its brightpink glaze.

One of these – or any other of the variety ofalmost-but-not-quite-too-beautiful-to-eat individual pastries –would provide a satisfying finale to a meal with true Frenchflair.

As they say in Paris, oo la la!

ST. GERMAIN

8303 Third Avenue

Brooklyn, NY 11209

718-745-8899

Free delivery in Bay Ridge with $12 minimum order

Closed on Mondays

Tuesday-Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m. (lunch till 4 p.m.)

Friday 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. (lunch till 4 p.m.)

Saturday 10 a.m.-10:30 p.m. (brunch till 4 p.m.)

Sunday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (brunch all day)


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