A small slice of France can be found at the café Tartine, nestled in New York’s quaint West Village. It’s a small and cozy bistro decorated with pictures and small figurines of sailboats and lighthouses and belongs in the French countryside right by the sea. The restaurant is marked by eclectic music, friendly service, and an incredibly appetizing case of desserts ranging from tarts to éclairs.
After being seated for brunch either inside at small tables and booths or outside on the patio for brunch, a glass of sweet and cold orange juice is immediately brought to the table. The brunch selection is not extensive, but covers the necessary bases; a small variety of egg dishes, pancakes, French toast, sandwiches, and pastries are available.
Tartine’s pain au chocolat (more commonly known as a chocolate croissant) and French toast are two dishes that really stand out. The pain au chocolat is served with raspberry jam, which is a wonderful compliment to the dark chocolate in the pastry. A lightly crispy outside and fluffy inside of the pain au chocolate give it a nice balance of textures that make an overall delicious treat.
The French toast, however, blew the competition away. Four triangular pieces of French toast and four pieces of bacon surround breakfast potatoes, tomatoes, scallions, and onions that have a light layer of hollandaise sauce on them. It’s mouth watering from the get go; the brightness of the tomatoes and scallions as well as the dish’s layout make it aesthetically pleasing, and an inviting smell that is both sweet and savory make the dish irresistible. The bacon is satisfyingly crunchy, not overly buttered, and tastes just as any good bacon should. The tomatoes, scallions, onions, and potatoes are a perfect combination. They are hearty and flavorful, and cooked very well. And finally, the French toast itself is among the best I’ve ever tasted. It is fluffy and light, has hints of cinnamon and powdered sugar, and is perfectly sweet. The French toast doesn’t even need syrup because the delectable taste easily stands on its own, although it does make for a satisfying addition. The dish as a whole provides a medley of flavor that somehow manages to work together to create an unforgettable meal.
The delightful Tartine is located at 253 W. 11th St., which is the corner of West 4th Street and 11th Street. It is open for brunch, lunch, and dinner, but has built up its reputation from its delightful brunch. With moderate prices (many dishes are right around $15), portions the perfect size for sharing, competent service, and great food, Tartine is worth the trip.
By Sara Evall