“This is my little baby,” Ricardo Valdez said with an excited grin, opening the door to his brand new bar on Orchard Street. A former floor manager at one of New York’s premier French destinations, Ladurée Soho, Valdez capered off with Chef Johann Giraud (who has a truly jaw-dropping internet 1.0 web-xistence), to launch their own take on the old world. The result: Excuse My French, an irreverent tapas bar dedicated to all things Francophone.
In the wake of the Paris terror attacks, New Yorkers–right down to the mayor— have been affirming their love and support for their sister city. This past weekened, shops like AuH20 Thriftique and Barbara Feinman Millinery drew the Eiffel Tower peace sign on their chalkboards. And further down East 7th Street, a new Parisian sandwich shop served as a beacon for anyone seeking to reconnect with the City of Light, Love, and baguettes in some small way.
Takeout joints within the Lower East Side’s Cologne Zone have traditionally pandered to the drunk and hungry, but amidst the taco shacks and 99-cent slice joints, a decidedly haute concept has arrived. Les Jardins de la Duchesse, as the Orchard Street newcomer is haughtily called, will specialize in eclairs. That’s right, eclairs.
Actually, there will be something here for the sauced: the petite patisserie will offer a bacon-wrapped goat-cheese eclair, plus three other savory varieties along with six sweet ones. According to its website, they’ll be made by Chef Antoine Pelhate, who apprenticed in France at age 15 and went on to work in Swiss restaurants and hotels. Among his sweet pastries are a coffee eclair stuffed with Arabica coffee cream and topped with coffee icing. Hello.