In the class of restaurants that comprise the delight of dining in New York City, colonial kitchens are not at the forefront of the mind. At Rouge et Blanc, French and Vietnamese influences are displayed in harmony with keen thought and attention. Nonetheless, this harmony does not suggest an equal ratio of French and Vietnamese. The notion of a colony, that is complete or partial jurisdiction of one territory influencing another, is quite prevalent at this quiet and romantic SoHo restaurant. Thus, more than often, the restaurant seems more French than Vietnamese.
The owner, who is also sommelier, offers a crisp and bright Sancerre that works effectively with both octopus and beef. Small plates make up the menu which is updated daily and does not run more than a page long, avoiding any sense of inundation.
A cilantro based coulis of octopus and plantains deliciously underscores the flavors of the earth and sea. The only comment being that while the octopus is clearly marinated, it remained a little on the dry side.
Beef cheek is braised and served with a papaya salad and a greased flatbread. Restrained from the temptation of using excess ingredients, it is perhaps one of the restaurant’s most prized dishes. Indeed, it is a fine specimen of what French editing can do to an irrefutably Eastern recipe.
A dish of charred kale and broccoli seems humdrum considering the unrelenting trend of the ubiquitous green. However, it is finished with the rich zip of oil and lemon, complementing the shockingly smooth tenderness of the beef cheek.
Rouge et Blanc
48 Macdougal St
New York, NY 10012