We returned to Frances where the “modern American” food is fantastic and the staff is always very accommodating in providing excellent service. Their beverage director, Paul Einbund, was acting as host that evening and told us that his special keg wine blend of Barbera, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon from Miraflores Winery was drinking particularly well that evening. We tended to agree when we drank our first sip with the almonds they serve:
Frances’ keg wine program is unique in the City since you pay for what you consume by the ounce. We never have any issues finishing the carafe (or two in the case of this evening).
From the ‘bouchées’ (small bites) part of the menu, we ordered the panisse frites with Tzatziki (yogurt-cucumber sauce) since it had been awhile since we have had them. I have tried making these chickpea flour fries at home and have never mastered the combination of crisp and creaminess that their version has:
The eggplant Parmesan from the ‘sides’ part of the menu served as a nice appetizer. The summer cherry tomatoes and Chinese eggplant were baked to perfection with some roasted peppers and croutons:
The Spugnole pasta dish came with an heirloom tomato ragù speckled with fennel-braised chicken and olives. The Pugliese pasta had enough ridges to really soak up the excellent tomato sauce:
The perfectly rare bavette steak was served on top of butter beans, roasted heirloom peppers and salsa verde sauce. The sauce bordelaise was poured tableside providing a colorful yin-yang effect:
Whole wheat crêpe crespelles were filled with summer corn and English peas. They were topped with summer squash slices, morel mushrooms and arugula leaves. There was no lack of butter in this very tasty vegetarian dish:
Frances is a small, neighborhood gem that is a destination restaurant. The evening we dined there, Wolfgang Puck and his party of 4 were also there which shows how far reaching Chef Melissa Perello’s fame is. It is almost as difficult to get reservations there today as when they first opened more than two and half years ago; but if you are willing to eat after 9 pm, then chances of securing a table are much better.