When I am in Manhattan, whether it be for business or personal travel, I am certain that one of my dinners will be had in the Meatpacking District. The energetic vibe and vast quantity of excellent restaurants located here completely compensate for the difficulty had in walking the cobblestone streets and sidewalks in high heels. My latest visit, which included a fabulous dinner at Bistro de la Gare, met that same standard of a fabulous dining experience worthy of meticulously placed steps.
We arrived at the restaurant about 8:00 on a warm summer evening and were greeted warmly by one of the two chefs/co-owners, Maryann Terillo. While talking with us, she guided us to a comfortable table for two before checking on another party on her way to the kitchen. Within moments we were greeted by our waiter who provided menus and water.
The options on the menu were amazing, which made deciding a difficult process. However, we both were hungry, so we did our best to finalize our personal menus quickly. For the first course, I chose the Grilled Baby Leeks with Burrata. The leeks were amazingly tender and had a lovely, yet light, onion flavor. Served with creamy burrata, there couldn’t have been a better choice. Delicious greens and supple cheese made a wonderful partnership. My husband opted for the Pan-Roasted Barcat Oysters. A fan of shellfish, these were the perfect starter for him. Topped with fennel and cream, he savored every bite.
For our entrée round, we both decided to choose items that we don’t make at home or find often in restaurants. Although my first inclination was a dish made with rabbit ragu, I decided to try something I haven’t seen at any other restaurant- House-Made Fennel “Scialitelli”. While I’m sure the rabbit is delicious, this dish was perfect. The taste of fennel in the pasta was lilting, just enough to taste but not enough to overwhelm the dish. Served with fresh ricotta and garnished with kalamata olives, there was a wonderful play of sweetness in the cheese and savoriness in the olives. It took great effort to mind my manners and share a few bites with my husband. He reciprocated by sharing a bite or two of his Roasted Confit of Duck Leg. A favorite go-to item of his, this duck confit did not disappoint. Accompanied by roasted heirloom potatoes and a sauté of asparagus, he was pleased with his choice.
As we finished our dishes, we both were feeling quite satiated. However, the waiter offered us the dessert menu, and how were we to say no? There were several desserts that seemed intriguing, so we decided to see what some of the house favorites were. We were encourage to try the Bread & Butter Pudding with Creme Anglaise. What a fabulous recommendation! The pudding was buttery, moist, and tender. The creme anglaise was served on the side, but once poured over the pudding it provided a wonderful sweet and creamy balance to the hint of salt in the pudding.
Needless to say we were quite full but also delightfully pleased with yet another trip to the Meatpacking District. If you’ll be in Manhattan in the near future, take a trip to Bistro de la Gare; you’ll be glad that you did. The phenomenal food and excellent service are sure to please.