A new restaurant opened only a few weeks ago in the heart of Chelsea in the building of the famous London Terrace (an apartment building so large it stretches one avenue long and one block wide). I was very pleased because the northern part of Chelsea could use some more restaurants and I love finding out that there’s something new to eat. Really, this part of the neighborhood needs a combination of both fancy-sit-down restaurants as well as casual brunch and dinner venues. La Promenade Des Anglais is definitely categorized under the “fancy-sit-down restaurants.”
Luckily my apartment is only steps away, so naturally I was thrilled to be going here for dinner. Upon arrival I ordered the lavender lemonade at the bar. I haven’t had such a strong cocktail in a very long time. The lavender was so potent in the drink and the lemonade flavoring masked most of the alcohol’s taste. The drink is a unique one that I probably wouldn’t order again just because the size of it was far too much too large.
For our appetizers we had a shrimp tartare that was so delicious, I couldn’t believe how much I enjoyed it. When it comes to shrimp I either will love the dish or I will hate it. Shrimp cocktail makes me gag because I can’t stand the texture when you bite into the cold shrimp — it’s like I can feel the shrimp muscles ripping in every bite (I know, I don’t know what I am talking about because my description is ridiculous… but that’s the way I feel when I eat shrimp cocktail). This shrimp tartare was so fresh and light and for each bite you would add the tartare to the top of a homemade salty potato chip for some cripiness and extra texture. Another appetizer we ordered was something I never had before: fried gnocchi. I didn’t enjoy this one bit, it was far too bland and we even asked if the chef could give us some red sauce for dipping but the sauce didn’t help at all. Gnocchi is supposed to be fluffy and if it’s not then it is cooked incorrectly. Frying gnocchi… I don’t think so. The outside of the gnocchi was crispy just like anything that is fried and the gnocchi itself was much more dense, there was no fluff to it. (If you are looking for a restaurant that serves the BEST gnocchi in the entire world, try either of these two sister restaurants: Gnocco or Perbacco both on the Lower East Side/Alphabet City. I have never had a bad meal at either of the restaurants, the chefs are brilliant, I even think these restaurants served me better meals compared to any place I ate at while touring Italy.) Our final appetizer we ordered was the Vitello Tonnato — sweetbreads and blue-fin tuna, with romaine hearts. I actually didn’t try this dish because I was so turned off by the smell. And you all know how much I love tuna, so my boyfriend was shocked when I turned down a tasting.
For my main course I ordered the scallops with zucchini, red pepper, and pine nut gremolata. The scallops were cooked perfectly and I loved that there were extra salty seasonings added to the scallops — this salty flavor was only on the outside yet it tasted as if it was pan seared into the fish. It was probably one of the best scallops I have had in a while.
Overall the restaurant was pretty good — would I go back for a second dinner? Probably not, unless the chef redesigns the menu. I appreciate when a restaurant is consistent from dish to dish and even though I did like a few of the plates that I ordered, I didn’t enjoy everything that we ordered. I also couldn’t figure out if the style of the foods were supposed to be from French inspirations or if there was a fusion of some sort from French food to something else.
Bravo to the chefs that are launching this new restaurant. It’s off to a great start and I’ll be interested to read reviews over the next year and I’ll be very excited to see a revised menu when the seasons change and you offer different dishes.