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Inventive French Dining

Jill Newman

Benoit, Alain Ducasse’s French bistro in midtown Manhattan known for its traditional French bistro fare, debuted a new chef and updated menu in December. Newly appointed executive chef Philippe Bertineau collaborated with Ducasse and his partner Bruno Jamais on a menu that combines classic bistro dishes with an inventive tasting menu of 12 different hors d’oeuvres that can be mixed and matched to suit diners’ appetites. Tasting dishes include leeks in vinaigrette sauce with egg mimosa, crab cocktail with avocado and grapefruit, crispy pied de cochon with tartar sauce, and cod brandade. While the hors d’oeuvres menu will likely be popular at the restaurant’s expansive bar, the menu also offers hearty bistro favorites for which the venue made its name. Among the new classic additions are steamed loup de mer with fennel, sweet onions, Meyer lemon and lavender, and diver sea scallops with cauliflower mousseline and floret, along with Benoit’s signatures such as the juicy roast chicken for two with garlic cloves and pommes frites. Of course, with winter upon us, Ducasse brings back a seasonal signature dish: the traditional cassoulet prepared and presented in the cookpot. Chef Philippe unveiled his own “Classic of the Month,” which features a time-honored recipe such as the filet mignon Rossini with foie gras and black truffle. Prior to joining Benoit, chef Philippe was the sous chef at Daniel Boulud’s Daniel and then served as executive chef at François Payard’s Pâtisserie & Bistro for 12 years. Most recently, he was executive chef of Keith McNally’s Balthazar. (646.943.7373, www.benoitny.com)

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