Since the very first I had Croque Madame many years ago, I have been a big fan. I have had many Croque Madame at many different restaurants/cafes. Some good, some not-so-good, and some amazingly delicious ones. It is just such a nice, comforting dish, especially for brunch. Few months ago, I found this French bistro-cafe-bar in West Village, and decided to visit them for a weekend brunch.
Le Baratin means “smooth talker” who can BS about anything, like a clever fox. Therefore, their logo contains cute and fashionable fox. They also had a cute fox on the top their bar. Loved that little touch. I heard this place was opened by brothers who used to work at Tout Va Bien, the oldest French bistro in the Theatre District (you can read about it here: http://www.foodlovergirl.com/tout-va-bien/).
The inside was bright, larger than I thought it would be, even though it was not a huge space. It had a bar to the left, right by the entrance, as this is more than just a restaurant but also a bar where you can enjoy some beers and wines.
They had funny little things around the restaurant, one by the coat hook that says “Drunk octopus wants to fight!!!” And sure enough, it looks like a drunken octopus with its legs up, ready to punch someone! Another one was a chalk board by the entrance, with a message that says “You should bring your partner before someone else does” – indeed!
I love the interior of this place, with lots of antique trays, arts, and signs. The wall was painted warm pastel yellow, with part of it covered with old-fashioned tiles that matches the wall paint color. The wall on the right side was exposed red brick, creating that cozy atmosphere.
Since it was a hot day, we started with Iced Coffee ($3). I liked how it came in a wine glass! It was a good coffee, perfect for a brunch on a hot day. And, I thought the price tag was very reasonable.
For food, we ordered Croque Madame ($18) and Le Burger Baratin ($16). Look at these beauties…! They both came with pommes frites and salad. I liked how they just came with them, instead of “choice of fries or salad.”
Croque Madame is made with ham, Emmental cheese, Béchamel, and toasted brioche. It was really fluffy, cheesy, and had generous amount of ham in the middle. The egg was perfectly cooked, Béchamel had great flavor, and overall, it was an excellent Croque Madame! The salad was very fresh, and pommes frites were really good too, crunchy on the outside and soft and potato-y in the inside. It was totally worth every penny.
Le Burger Baratin was huge! It came with Camembert, red onion, lettuce and tomato. The patty was really big and packed with flavor. It was juicy and tender, and I really enjoyed the Camembert on the patty. I don’t think I’ve had a burger with Caembert cheese before, it was very interesting and super tasty. I like how it melts slowly, without losing its original form too much. The buns were toasted nicey, so that it had just the right amount of crunch in the inside, while the rest was soft and fluffy. Everything was just amazing!
They have a uni-sex bathroom at the back, with really funny sign on the door! I love these unique and cute things they do…
The bathroom was clean spacious enough, with interesting, old-fashioned artworks. They had scented candles to keep the air smelling nice. Thank you.
Needless to say, we didn’t have any room left for dessert. Maybe next time. I would love to go back again for more of their simple and traditional French bistro fare. Everything was really good, and the female server was super nice and sweet. And the fact that she was French added our French brunch experience. If you want some French food at comfy, relaxing cute little cafe, give them a try, and make sure to bring your partner before someone else does!
Le Baratin – 26 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY 10011