New York City is jam packed with French and Italian restaurants, maybe more than any other cuisine in the city. The problem you face when picking a French restaurant is that you either end up with a high-end restaurant with exorbitantly high prices. On the other end of the spectrum are the mid-level French bistros that offer a few decent dishes, but mostly don’t evoke the feeling of a true French bistro.
Enter La Sirene. Chef and Ownder Pawlicki Didier has been serving up some of the best French food in the South Village for more than eight years. The restaurant itself is unassuming, but charming, and the recent addition of a wine list (plus the BYOB option) make it a one stop shop for delicately prepared classic French dishes along side a nice glass of red wine.
Having been to many restaurants in Paris, I can say with certainty that the dishes at La Sirene are truly authentic. You will not find a better onion soup anywhere. There are also other delicious appetizer options including the escargots, which are not overly garlicky and a baby octopus salad with garlic, parsley, tomato and mushroom. Portions are also plentiful.
The entrees offerings range from gnocchi with truffles and a white sauce to cassoulet, which may be a winter dish, but Chef Didier couldn’t keep it off the menu. I tried a few dishes but was blown away by the rabbit stew. Rather than a big bowl of stew, the rabbit is served on a plate with a wonderful mushroom and white wine sauce and rice. The dish is outstanding and if you’re not a rabbit eater, this will change your mind.
One thing you can’t forget to do is save room for dessert. After all, the French make the best ones (well, a lot of them anyway). The best thing you can do is order the Tarte Tatin with ice cream. The next best option, if you have a sweet tooth and lots of hungry mouths to feed is get the Choux Chantilly. No place around has this chantilly stuffed profiteroles and they are incredible (and big!!).
Needless to say I have only great things to say about this restaurant. There wasn’t a bad dish served or tasted. The staff are friendly and helpful, offering suggestions when asked. Chef Didier has kept his doors open for the past eight years for a reason: French food at its finest.