9 -9th Ave
(between Little W 12th St & 13th St)
New York, NY 10014
Neighborhoods: West Village, Meatpacking District
Get the feel of a Parisian bistro while wandering the streets of New York. That’s the point of Pastis, a restaurant that has gotten a lot of airplay in the past decade. Once upon a time Pastis was an innovative restaurant for the New York scene, but it’s now one of many wannabe Parisian-like spots in town. This can be seen as good or bad, but either way it’s worth stopping by if you live in New York. Though it can be a glitzy scene, the food is fairly traditional French fare.
What to Order
Sandwiches are a favorite of many Parisian bistros. At Pastis, snag the sliced steak sandwich with gruyere and onions (which is only available on weekdays for lunch) for flavors that melt in your mouth. The fries are also exceptional at Pastis, which is surprising for an upscale joint. Though the flavors are big, the portions are small. Remember that nearly all French food is drenched in butter or heavy cream (or both), so pace yourself when ordering. Foods that seem light may in fact be quite heavy, especially if you’re downing them with one of the many wines Pastis offers.
For brunch, a French favorite is the Croque Monsieur. This open face egg, ham and cheese delight is done right at Pastis. It can be a gooey mess to eat, but it’s worth ordering and sharing with a friend. The fried egg, tomatoes and bean dish may sound simple, but is seasoned just so, allowing you to mix the yolk with your vegetables. Pastis is also known for their foie gras. If you’re popping in for a drink and snack, ask the attentive waiter to suggest a wine to go along with your liver.
Overall, brunch is the area that Pastis shines. Lunch is great, but can be rushed because of the crowds. It’s the same with dinner and the dinner menu is pretty basic. For the prices, there’s better food to be had in New York, whether it’s a family party or a first date. Keep in mind part of the fun of Pastis is the atmosphere. It’s a very well-known restaurant that is in many guide books and websites, which means it sees its fair share of tourists. For us, this isn’t a must-try for tourists, but it is a rite of passage of sorts for those who move to New York.
One of the primary complaints about Pastis is it’s expensive. Fries are not served alongside a main dish; you must purchase them separately. That wouldn’t be a big deal except that in this case, those fries cost $9. Still, it’s New York and it’s Pastis, so most patrons understand that the prices are going to be above average. The prices aren’t so high that it will keep out young 20-sometimes who are looking for non-stop mimosas, but they also aren’t low, which means an average brunch for two people can cost about $50-$60.