The West Village is the epicenter of charming, quaint little restaurants, particularly of the Italian and French varieties. This makes it the perfect destination for a few dining occasions: romantic dinner dates and girls brunches chief among them. The opening of Pierre Lapin, a darling little French bistro, this fall added yet another restaurant francais to the mix, and was a perfect choice for a holiday brunch.
The restaurant aesthetic is classic European, with feminine floral wallpaper, traditional paintings, and cozy, high booths with red leather banquettes. The table settings are equally charming, with floral, pastel china plates and flourished silverware placed atop the traditional white tablecloths.
Bistro Pierre Lapin offers a classic French menu of house-made pastries and bread, Benedicts, steak frites, and other egg dishes that you might expect. Of note, an excellent brunch prix fixe deal: a cocktail (mimosa or Bloody Mary), appetizer, and entrée for $35. We all went for this option.
The mimosas were conventional, nothing noteworthy but went down easily. Again, the bread service is classic in the best way: enormous loaves of fresh French bread accompanied by house-made butter and raspberry preserves.
For our appetizers, we ordered croissants and the grapefruit brûlée. The croissants were delightful: fresh, buttery, and flaky. I was so excited about my grapefruit brûlée; it’s one of my preferred brunch starters. The beautiful grapefruit half was placed upon the table with the top perfectly covered in a crunchy caramelized sugar. It was so pretty that my brunch dates gasped. However, it was nearly impossible to eat: it not served with the serrated grapefruit spoon you would expect. At one point, I nearly blinded myself with citrus juice to the eyeball. At another, the grapefruit went skidding off the plate. Mortified, I resorted to using my hands. Eventually, I gave up, defeated.
The entrees were solid takes on traditional brunch dishes: an Eggs Benedict, and steak frites.
The steak frites offered a solid portion of flank steak, eggs as you like, and pommes frites. The flank steak was cooked medium rare and rather hard to cut without a steak knife, which I did not receive. Even then, it was still a bit tough. Meanwhile, the frites were far too soggy, and small. So small and soggy that you needed a fork to eat them. While we understand slightly limp frites can be a French thing, these were too much so.
The Eggs Benny was served on a croissant, an added touch of decadence and more butter. The Bearnaise sauce was a nice consistency and portion, and the eggs were poached just right. The Bearnaise was a delightful substitute for Hollandaise.
The Bitches say: three Champagne flutes for a charming ambiance and a great brunch deal, with average food and good but forgetful service.
Bistro Pierre Lapin serves brunch Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.