Dirty French is a bistro from the Major Food Group that owns Santina (which I love) and Carbone (on my list) as well as several other spots. Dirty French is located in the Lower East Side on the ground level of the Ludlow Hotel. The menu reads like a traditional French bistro, but when you try the food, you realize that the dishes have creative twists that make them far more exciting and interesting than otherwise expected.
The vibe is loud, both in terms of noise but also because it is buzzy, and the space has bright red chickens decorating the restaurant. The restaurant is dark, hence the awful quality of the pictures………sorry about that!
What we ate:
The flatbread: this was the best part of our meal and on its very own, worth going to the restaurant for! It is free, served piping hot, sprinkled with herbs and served with soft and absolutely rich and addictive fromage blanc. This reminded me a bit of the texture of my favourite Hungarian dish – Langos – a fried bread that warrants a flight to Hungary, though with this dish, not fried (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lángos). I feel the same way about the bread here, worth a trip downtown. Have this, a glass of wine and the mushroom starter and move on and eat the rest of your meal elsewhere.
Lamb carpaccio with aubergine and yogurt: this dish arrived first and it was interesting, unique and very different from the usual Italian versions. The lamb was thinly sliced and served with coin sized aubergines and with dollops of yogurt. It had a good kick to it from the ras el hanout oil and sumac powder which added a lot of flavour though somewhat overwhelming the delicate lamb. I am glad we were sharing all of the food because this was a large portion and something you want a few bites of but not a full plate.
Millefeuille of trumped mushroom with a ramp curry: this dish was a total surprise, in a great way. We expected puff pastry with mushrooms in between the layers but instead, it was a creative and gorgeous dish where the layers look like pastry but are actually 100% made of mushroom, buttered and baked to hold its shape probably in a mould and crispy on the outside. They were served on top of the seasonally appropriate ramp curry. Stunning dish and a must eat!
Steak Au Poivre: hanger steak was cooked very well and you could cut it with a spoon, but unfortunately it was absolutely over Poivred which hid the taste of the meat as it was too strong.
Cabbage Persillade: we ordered the cabbage on the side which was delicious and despite persillade having garlic, it was perfectly done and the garlic was not overwhelming.
Trio of ice creams: there was nothing on the dessert menu that screamed “eat me” but as usual, I still needed a bite of something sweet to finish my meal so I ordered the ice creams. The three scoops were Thai tea, Chocolate halva and pecan praline and were unique and interesting. The Thai tea rated number one and the chocolate halva grew on me as I discovered more morsels of halva as I kept eating.
In sum: loud and fun and some absolutely great dishes. I would definitely go back for the bread and the mushrooms but since my time in NY is always limited, I would venture elsewhere for my main and dessert. Dirty French would be a perfect stop for an afternoon snack when shopping or wondering the LES.
Dirty French http://www.dirtyfrench.com/
The Ludlow Hotel, 180 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002, United States
[mappress “width=99%” mapid=”173″]