Nestled on Hudson street and a real freshie at 3 months old, Bistro de la Gare was a wonderful Friday night surprise. M and I tend to get lazy on Fridays. Tired from the work week and the hustle and bustle we tend to make easy choices and go to places we know and love. Friday night’s tend to be predictable and super local, albeit always delicious. We decided instead this Friday to grab drinks at a local favorite wine bar and then be tacky, searching the opentable.com app on M’s Iphone in search of something new and different for a Friday night. I know, we’re totally wild.
We came cross Bistro de la Gare, checked out the menu and clicked for a reservation. We love dining on Hudson Street, it’s quiet and quaint and a nice walk from our apartment. Upon walking in the door, we were great by Maryann Terillo (featured above in her white chef’s coat). She had the most welcoming and motherly look with her stark white hair, giant chef’s coat and contagious joie de vivre. Despite living in the West Village and frequently feeling like ‘family’ when we dine, her welcome was something out of the ordinary. She apologized profusely that she hadn’t been able to ‘call us’ at which point I was thoroughly confused. She explained they don’t have their wine license yet and will be getting it next week, so we should sit down, order and then walk down the block to pick up a bottle of wine.
Cue the music. BYO’s are the like holy grail of Manhattan eating. They are so few and far between, so difficult to find and enjoy and cut down so much on the meal cost. Our eyes must have lit up. We quickly perused the menu and decided on our entrees, then ran/walked to the wine store and picked up an ‘easy California cab’.
We of course were dying to know Bistro de la Gare’s ‘back story’ since we both kept lamenting the fact that despite our walks on Hudson street almost every weekend we had never seen it. Back to the iphone we went. Turns out Maryann is of the late Jarnac (which was on our ‘to do list’ before it closed last year) and Elisa Sarno is of Babbo. Once I read Babbo, I knew we were in the right place. Babbo is one of my top five favorite restaurants in the city, Batali being my favorite celebrity chef. The review of B.D.L.G. tauted the family like atmosphere and service which we immediately found ourselves drawn to. Our waiter was humorous, warm and a great addition to the meal. When he left after our dessert and before we paid the bill, with a backwards Yankees hat on a final “I told you so” about the life-altering panna cotta, it wasn’t strange, it just seemed to make sense. And that was after he told us about Maryann’s desperation to keep the ‘meatpacking trash’ out of her restaurant. We laughed and realized we’d be coming back. A lot.
The food was delicious, the portions generous and the prices beyond reasonable. Décor was lacking, but it was almost comforting since we have been to so many overdone places in the W Village lately, so not what our neighborhood is ‘about’
M: “Green Market” lasagna (despite his lament that he needed “meat to bulk this up”, this from a guy who usually eats 2-3 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 2+ dinners) he really enjoyed this, as did I from my couple of bites. It was well baked, crust, delicious and the ingredients on the inside tasted fresh and it was definitely a winner.
S: Sautéed skate with lentils (the dish was fresh, perfectly cooked with nice flavor compliments. It was a very solid piece of fish which was highly enjoyable and left me wanting to try their other fish dishes)
Us: Panna Cotta (neither of us like panna cotta. neither of us would have ordered it. but we were told we couldn’t live without it. and if we didn’t like it? we could have something else. needless to say we basically licked our plates clean has no problem finishing every last bite. and did not need to order something else. it was light, delicious, not overpoweringly sweet and truthfully hard to describe….
The verdict? This is right up our alley. Places in the West Village that doesn’t try to be Meatpacking ‘chic’, are our ‘go to’ favorites. This will surely become a neighborhood favorite of ours and many others. According to the website there is also a $36 prix fixe coming soon…
What makes a neighborhood or favorite restaurant for YOU???
626 Hudson Street
And for some additional reading, check out their story: (taken directly from http://www.bistrodelagarenyc.com/bistro-staff/)
Bistro de la Gare is a partnership between chefs Maryann Terillo and Elisa Sarno.The co-owners first met when Elisa went to work for Maryann in 1987 at the West Village restaurant Café de la Gare.
When the café closed in 1991 Maryann was a private chef, teacher, and caterer (Two Divas) until she became the chef/partner at Jarnac from 1999-2009. She designed and implemented the menus for both Café de la Gare and Jarnac. Both restaurants were very well received with high scores in Zagat and included in many guides including Michelin.
After getting her start with Maryann, Elisa went on to work as the chef of the Cleaver Company (catering and take out shop) from 1988-1998 and at Babbo restaurant from 1998-2009. She was involved in the opening of Babbo, where she created dishes and designed menus for special dinners.
During the years Elisa and Maryann continued to collaborate on freelance catering assignments, charity dinners, and on occasional special assignments overseas in Europe and even Japan. Most of all, the two enjoyed going to Italy many summers to teach cooking classes in Tuscany and Venice.
In 2010 Maryann and Elisa have reunited in a new venture Bistro de la Gare, named in honor of the small West Village restaurant where they first worked together