When Pastis closed this winter we were devastated, having spent many nights enjoying bottles of wine and Negronis at the bar. But Keith McNally is back with another new restaurant – Cherche Midi – on the corner of Bowery and Houston, in the former Pulino’s space. And while we aren’t sure it can fill Pastis’ shoes, we had to check out the cocktails.
We arrived for dinner and sat at the bar, where we were offered a round of complimentary shots by the friendly bartender, Sid. When asked what was in them, he just chuckled and said “It’s a secret” but it was sweet and a little fruity and a very nice touch.
The first cocktail we tried was the Flower of Scotland with Hendrick’s gin, lemon, fresh basil and espelette syrup. We could even smell the basil as Sid was mixing the drink. Served in a simple rocks glass, it was refreshing light, if not a bit sweet.
When we sat, we were greeted with our SECOND free drinks of the evening: a round of champagne for having had waited, maybe, an extra 15 minutes at the bar, which we didn’t even mind – or notice – because we were drinking and chatting. All class, Cherche Midi.
For dinner, the group (there were four of us, FYI) tried the Hamachi Crudo, the Steak Tartare – one of the best we have ever had – the Sauteed Sardines, the Salmon and the insane Prime Rib Burger, with a side of Roasted Cauliflower. It was all very Pastis-y, which made us happy.
After dinner, there was room for one more cocktail: the Blue Moon with Citadelle gin (gin is definitely the “IT” liquor of the moment), Crème Yvette, Maraschino liqueur and violet petals. It was really pretty and REALLY boozy.
There are so many more to try, but we are up to the task.
282 Bowery; 212-226-3055; www.cherchemidiny.com
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