The Pleasure of Good Food

Buvette gastrothèque

Pint-sized bistro. No reservations.

On a whim, my friend decided to spend 12 hours in New York City and entrusted me to be his guide. Absolutely drained from the week prior, I could not promise him much but good food and an itinerary constrained to one part of the island.

I chose Buvette for purely selfish reasons – I hadn’t been there in a while, and I knew we wouldn’t have to wait if we got there early. So Buvette it was.

This used to be a secret brunch spot that no one knew about. Now, unless you come before 10:30am (far too early for the average New Yorker) expect to wait a while to be seated at a small table, eating off small plates and using far-too-small utensils.

In fact, you can expect that not everything will fit on the table. It’s much like being invited to the tea party of five-year-old.

Café au Lait | $6.50

But what Buvette lacks in size, it makes up in flavor. Boasting two locations – one in New York City and the other in Paris – it is a safe assumption that Buvette is the real deal when it comes to comforting, hearty French flavors.

As you can tell by the prices, Buvette is by no means a cheap brunch. The coffee alone is $6.50 (and don’t bother to ask for soy or almond milk, it only comes with whole milk).

But it is definitely worth it.

L’oeuf au Saumon Fumé | $15

The plates may seem small, but they are hearty, comforting, and filling. The steamed scrambled eggs with smoked salmon have the most satisfying texture and flavor. The eggs are steamed, rather than cooked in a pan, using a frother, and topped with smoked salmon, creme fraiche and pickles. This heavenly pile of food sits atop a crusty slice of french bread.

It can be too much for one person to eat depending on your appetite, but too little for a couple to share, so we ordered a second dish as well.

Croque Forestier | $12

The second dish we ordered was the Croque Forestier. Often called the vegetarian answer to the Croque Madame or the Croque Monsieur, the Croque Forestier is a sandwich of sorts, filled with the richness of gruyere cheese, bechamel sauce, packed with yummy, delicious mushrooms, and flavored with herbes de Provence.

I cut through the sandwich just so you could see how the bechamel and the Gruyere seem to meld with and soak into the crusty French bread, creating what could almost be called the oh-so-satisfying answer to the American grilled cheese. The croque boasts layer after layer of cheesy, melty, creamy goodness.

But that can also be its downfall.

Buvette_Croque_Forestier_2Unfortunately my friend and I were unable to finish the Croque Forestier. Maybe neither of us were hungry enough or something about the richness of the food sated our appetites much more quickly than we had anticipated.

But that was an easy fix. We boxed up the rest for my visiting friend to take home and proceeded to walk off the delicious brunch with a stroll along the Highline (nearly bumping into Chelsea-native Peter Dinklage and his dog along the way!).

Boy, was I glad my friend gave me a reason to return to Buvette. Prices and plates aside, Buvette is a restaurant always worth returning to.

Do you have any go-to restaurants that you take friends to when their visiting New York? Share below:


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