Left Bank
 
 

Simple and sublime bistro fare in the West Village

By James Oliver Cury

Located on the impossibly picturesque corner of Perry and Greenwich Streets, with an entrance that welcomes you at the very tip of a triangular building, Left Bank already stands out among the abundance of bistros in the West Village. And from the start in 2011, chef and co-owner Laurence Edelman has helped distinguish his restaurant further by doing bistro fare his way, exploring the cuisines of France and Italy and ultimately carving out his own creative American menu. With an emphasis on farm-to-table ingredients and humanely raised meat—as well as humanely priced entrees—it feels like the only bistro in the neighborhood you’d need to know.

The restaurant is divided into nooks: a small bar area near the entrance offers stools and banquettes, bay windows are decked out with pillows for perching, and the main dining room is festooned with votives and sconce lights.

Scan the blessedly simple one-page dinner menu, and you’ll see French classics—steak tartare, steamed mussels mariniere, steak frites (with thick cut, salty fries)—but there’s also a pasta section, which is not to be missed. Edelman mastered Italian cooking with stints at Felidia and Barbuto. His capricci cacio e pepe (the shape looks like old-fashioned, coiled telephone cord) is a marvel of simplicity, with butter, black pepper, and shallots. You will not want to share it.

Edelman’s CV also includes years at The Mermaid Inn and The Red Cat, where he had ample time to fine tune his approach to creative American dishes. So in addition to the proteins—whole roasted Idaho brook trout, iron roast split chicken, and a four-cheese cheeseburger—he’s got several vegetable-driven dishes, spotlighting beets, cauliflower, and seasonal sensations like ramps.
Little touches make all the difference; toasted hazelnuts give the shaved Brussels sprouts appetizer a wonderful crunch. To end the evening on a sugar-high note, try the signature dessert, maple syrup pie, which employs creme fraiche to cut what would otherwise be overwhelming sweetness.

Two other menus reveal the restaurant’s strengths—and priorities: drinks and brunch. The wine list leans heavily toward France and Italy, with bottles priced largely between $60 and $80, alongside a dozen or so wines by the glass, seven original cocktails, and a couple of familiar beer options (Stella Artois and Founders All Day IPA).

The brunch situation could be a restaurant unto itself, with 15 dishes organized into categories like egg dishes, sandwiches, salads, and Dutch Baby (a pancake-popover hybrid). If somehow none of that piques your interest (really?), you could always follow your own vision by building a custom plate off the “Shares” list, a mingling of miscellaneous brunch options like potato latkes, avocado toast, and fennel sausage.

Dutch Baby at Left Bank

hours

Mon–Thu 5 PM–10 PM; Fri–Sat 11 AM–11 PM (kitchen closes, bar stays open)
Sun 11 AM–10 PM

price range

$24 (grilled pork sausage) to $35 (steak frites)
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