On July 14, the French people will celebrate Bastille Day, their equivalent of our Independence Day. If you’d like to join in the celebration (France, after all, was instrumental in America’s victory over Great Britain in the Revolutionary War), you can do so at any number of French restaurants in the city. Here are a few worth exploring.
Claudette, located in Greenwich Village, will commemorate France’s fight for freedom with a couple of liquid specials, among them a variation on the Dark and Stormy cocktail dubbed the Dark and Storm the Bastille. In addition, rosé will be $9 a glass. The restaurant’s signature dishes include a bouillabaisse made with sea bass, prawns, clams, mussels, and lobster. Claudette, 24 Fifth Avenue, at W. 10th St., 212-868-2424.
Michelin-recognized La Goulue on the Upper East Side will celebrate the holiday with a special menu of French classics, including flash-cooked Scottish salmon moistened by a sorrel velouté and a milk-fed veal chop with sour cherry reduction and pommes bouchon. La Goulue’s Bastille Day menu can also be enjoyed at home by ordering through Postmates. La Goulue, 29 E. 61st Street, 212-988-8169.
Another local French restaurant that will be pulling out all the stops on Bastille Day is Benoit NYC, which plans to bring back several of its most beloved dishes including its lobster roll, beef ribeye with Bearnaise sauce, and strawberry tarte. A DJ will be on hand as well to provide a festive musical backdrop to the festive dishes. Benoit NYC, 60 W. 55th Street, 646-943-7373.
At Chez Francis Brasserie, erected on the site of Les Halles, Chef Anthony Bourdain’s spirit lives on in such well-tended bistro offerings as frisée aux lardons, crowned by a poached egg; moules frites; and a perfectly roasted half chicken. You don’t see lobster thermidor that often these days, but you’ll find this one-time staple on the menu at Chez Francis. Chez Francis Brasserie, 411 Park Avenue South (at 28th St.), 212-567-8282.
For something a little different, start your Bastille Day celebration on July 13 by attending the annual pétanque tournament at Bar Tabac in Brooklyn’s “Little Paris” (Carroll Gardens-Boerum Hill-Cobble Hill). After the game, which is similar to the Italian game bocce, tuck into an order of snails baked under a fragrant blanket of garlic, parsley, and pastis butter, followed by a filling platter of Moroccan spiced couscous, dense with spicy merguez and chicken. Bar Tabac, 128 Smith Street (at Dean St.), Brooklyn, 718-923-0918.