Bagatelle is a major player in New York’s brunch scene. Just do a quick online search for party brunches in NYC, and Bagatelle will be at the top of the results, I promise you.
But in addition to the loud music, free-flowing champagne, and trendy diners that have made Bagatelle’s brunch so popular, the restaurant also serves up some seriously delicious brunch fare. Behind this drool-worthy food is executive chef Nicolas Frezal.
We recently spoke with Frezal about his career as a chef, how Bagatelle became such an New York institution, and of course, brunch. See what he had to say below, and read our review of brunch at Bagatelle here.
What made you want to be a chef?
I was 19 years old and working in a kitchen with a chef in the South of France who inspired me to want to be like him.
When did you know you wanted to be a chef?
I knew I wanted to be a chef while working as a teen at Le Castel Ronceray in the South of France. The chef there took me under his wing, and I knew I wanted to follow in his footsteps. He said, “Don’t stay here, go to the big city, to Paris.” I took the test in Paris and passed. That was 14 years ago, and four years ago, I came to NYC after I finished in Paris.
How did you end up at Bagatelle? What attracted you to the restaurant?
The French world is small. New York is big and someone told me about it.
What is it about Bagatelle that makes it such an iconic NYC restaurant?
The ambiance here is beautiful, and we do everything we can to make sure every customer has the best experience.
Tell us more about the party brunch… How did that get started and why is it important to the Bagatelle brand?
You come as a customer and leave as a friend of the restaurant. People are meeting each other while dancing on the tables. It happens! The party brunch brings people together. That’s what Bagatelle does.
Do you prefer to brunch in or out?
I like to go out.
Where is your favorite place to brunch in NYC?
I like Little Frog. The food is very good.
What is your favorite brunch dish to make at home?
French toast, of course. I love French toast.
What is your favorite brunch dish at Bagatelle?
Maybe the croque monsieur?
What is your favorite brunch menu item that you always have to order?
Do you prefer Bloody Marys or mimosas?
If you could pick one person to brunch with — dead or alive — who would it be?
My twin brother.