Dirty French

Dirty French is the latest restaurant opening from the Major Food Group team; Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi and Jeff Zalaznick.  They have been on the move for the past few years opening up new restaurants with an Italian slant.  This one has a completely different edge and they have hit the nail on the head.

Located in the Ludlow Hotel on the LES.  A great vibe.  Large booths, tables, a long bar and an intimacy to the room.  The decor is great, the music is always a little louder than I’d like but good tunes.

oystersMy camera was definitely on the fritz and of course I could not figure out the issue so bear with me.  I plan on returning sooner than later so new pictures will be taken.  We began with a course of oysters.  They bring out a small plate of oysters showing you one from each location available that night.  The ones we chose were plump, briny and delicious.  Served with a few options for dipping if you so choose.

lambcarpThere are salads and appetizers.  I went with the lamb carpaccio.  Thinly sliced raw lamb covered with roasted eggplant slices and a cumin yogurt sauce.  This dish definitely has an intensity to it.  Really creative and unique with a Moroccan twist.  The other two had salads.  Frisee with sizzling giblets, lardons and a runny egg.  Honestly the perfect French salad.  The other salad was a mixture of greens, beets, cashews and roquefort.  If you like roquefort cheese this one is for you.  The combo of these flavors are delicious.  Most beet salads come with goat cheese.  I like how they shook it up.

beefFor dinner the boys split the Cote de Boeuf for two.  There is one other dish for two that is the Chicken and Crepes.  I do plan on returning to try that.  The beef comes served underneath an old school ornate silver lid.  Quite fancy and kitschy in a way that works.  They serve the beef along with the charred fat cap thinly sliced to lay on top of each slice.  The good fatty stuff.

duckI had the duck.  I have nothing to say except it was just excellent.  Crispy skin on top of a perfectly cooked piece of duck breast.  Roasted glazed oranges on the side with a mixture of North African herbs.  A large portion but I honestly finished every single last bite.  This screams winner.

On the side we had the broccoli gratin and a simple salad.  I kept the salad to myself.  Just simple greens with a nice tart vinaigrette.  Perfect side for the duck.

beignetsDessert was called for.  The beignets are big, airy, crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside and covered with powdered sugar.  Dip them in the caramel sauce on the side.  A bit of a mess but kind of the perfect end to the meal.  Except for the music being a few decibels louder than needed Dirty French is a great addition to the NY restaurant landscape.

Comments (Archived):

  1. Mario Cantin

    I wonder whether there is a folklore-type reason why they had to associate their establishment with the word “dirty” If so, IMO they should incorporate an explanation of it on the website and make it part of their marketing; I find it otherwise disturbing.

    1. Gotham Gal

      interesting. my guess is they used Dirty to shake it up. lots of French influences.

      1. Mario Cantin

        In the end, what really matters is the food, and based on your review, they’ve nailed it.

    2. William Mougayar

      It’s a clever name. sure makes you talk about it. great viral marketing ploy.

      1. Mario Cantin

        Meh…so is “The Village Idiot Pub” in Forest Hill, Toronto, and I yet have to go in after all these years. At least, we could always debate it over a Campari 🙂

        1. LE

          “Meh” I owned that name and sold it to the guy who runs that site now meh.com (Matt Rutledge who did woot.com. His entire idea was to play off that idea. The other name I got for him was “mediocre.com” for his company. Didn’t own that but helped him buy it. )

          1. Mario Cantin

            Wow, I would so totally ask you what you think of my domain name, but I don’t want to publicize it on Joanne’s blog. Another occasion maybe. Take care.

    3. LE

      My first thought (Rorschach wise) was “French Laundry”.So I feel that as branding it does the following and it clearly hits several points.One is juxtaposing (as French Laundry does) two words together that really have no particular meaning in the context that they are being used.The second is putting those words (and that brand) next to something that isn’t even related to the words (more or less point one explained futher).So “French Laundry” is not a laundromat, it’s a restaurant. That’s sure to stand out and get notice (as other comments have mentioned). And “Dirty French” is not a movie or a book or a house cleaning service.Third, use of “dirty” has sexual or cleanliness connotations.Do this test to see why. Would you call a child daycare place “dirty daycare”? Of course not.

      1. Mario Cantin

        Wow, that’s it! It’s a reference to The French Laundry restaurant in California, and most likely inclusive of the connotations you mentioned, clever. It’s like the numeronym “A16Z” — makes no sense until someone smarter (or Google) explains it 🙂 So you take “domain” expertise outside of work too, ha, ha!

        1. LE

          Oh I think about stuff like this all the time. It’s a sport for me. I’ve done publicity stunts that have gotten on the front page of the WSJ invented out of thin air based on the practically the same juxtaposition (if you want to call it that) concept.

    4. LE

      IMO they should incorporate an explanation of it on the website and make it part of their marketingI could argue either side of this. Since you took one side I’ll take the other. No right or wrong answer.So the other side is that by not explaining it they invite more conversation, engagement, speculation and attention. Any explanation could be perceived as “ho hum oh, that’s why”. Better left unsaid so minds will wander and come up with all sorts of reasons for the name.Now that’s not always the case. With something that’s more obvious (oddly enough), like “gotham gal” an explanation might help. (Fred has said he got the idea because Jim Kramer called his wife “ice princess” at least that’s what I think he said I can’t find anything to back that up..) In other words the organic invention from a husband for a reason is a better “back story” than if Joanne had thought of it herself one day (imo of course..)

  2. AG

    Always duck 🙂