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Monday, September 3, 2007

La Sirène

This is the debut post of a new periodic feature here at 312 Square Feet. Part of what is so exciting about living in Manhattan is the food culture and going out to eat, but it can certainly wear away at your wallet. The good thing is that there are many reasonable places to eat that dish out innovative and delicious cuisine. One thing that can help to make an inexpensive and enjoyable night out is to frequent establishments that allow you to bring your own wine or charge a low corkage fee. I will be searching out and reviewing the best places in Manhattan and Brooklyn that are BYOB or charge under $15 for a corkage fee.

Located on small block of Broome Street at Varick, near the entrance to the Tunnel, is the cozy French bistro La Sirene, 558 Broome (212) 925-3061. Octavio took the initiative and sought out this little place for a dinner date for the holiday weekend.

With just 19 seats, chef Didier Pawlicki manages to keep the atmosphere as good as the food that he serves. Focusing on the South of France, the seafood heavy menu offers up some of the best mussels I've eaten in a long time. Several varieties are on offer, we opted for the Provençales with tomatoes, fresh herbs and mushrooms. The aromatic broth was delicious sopped up with the rustic bread.

As entrées I had the who Barrimundi, a mild white fish originally from Australia. I learned that my fish was farmed in Maine! Stuffed with fresh thyme, browned with garlic and well salted, served with a mélange of creative and complimentary vegetables that both entrées shared, it was just great. The skin was perfectly crisp. Octavio had the skate serve with a butter caper sauce. The sauce used the larger plump capers that enhanced the fish well.

The dishes shared the same sides and the cuisine was so consistent that it made no matter. The carrot puree, squash and lima beans worked so well with both dishes and truly made us feel that Chef Pawlicki knows how to use regional ingredients.

In between courses, the gregarious chef came over to share his knowledge of the ingredients and methods of preparation. Since we are foodies, we were delighted and put at ease. The service is friendly and relaxing. We had such a marvelous time. Next time we will skip the dessert. We choose the Peach Melba but it was drowning in whipped cream. Of course we ate it anyway, but just regretted it later!

We plan on going back to La Sirene on a regular basis!

La Sirène
558 Broome St
(212) 925-3061
No Reservations

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