New York City, being one of the food capitals of America, has many options when it comes to food genres. That being said, you can find basically anything and everything that you would want by the click of a button. Having that ability at your fingertips is difficult when it comes to deciding what you want but it’s also a beautiful thing.
Living in New York, where cultures collide constantly, allows you to explore food from all over the world. One of my favorite restaurants that I have visited is Lucien in the East Village – a small French restaurant on the corner of First & First. With a quaint atmosphere and French background, the experience is like nothing else you have experienced in the city.
Right when you walk up to the restaurant, you are welcomed with a vibrant yellow facade, old wooden door and big glass window that look into the restaurant. From there, you enter and the tiled, antique floors and artwork on the walls take you back to a small restaurant in Paris. From the smells to the food being served, you feel like you have been teleported to another country.
The restaurant layout is very open and not too overwhelming, with bar seating and tables in the front and the back, there is space for all different party sizes. It is the perfect restaurant if you are needing to impress the folks with a delicious and trendy place to eat in the city or if you’re on a first date. The atmosphere is very vibrant, with many people talking (some in different languages) and the smell of food filling the air.
The first time I came here, I went with my aunt, and she is quite the foodie like myself. That said, we were both excited to devour the menu and explore the French cuisine that I have heard so much about. We started off the evening with a carafe of house wine and a few appetizers, ordering the crab cakes, steamed mussels and escargot. The crab cakes were super moist, yet crispy on the outside and had a delicious taste. The mussels, being full of flavor, were immersed in a delicious broth (and they give you bread to dip after, one of my favorite things to do after eating mussels). The escargot was quite tasty as well and all of the items had great flavor!
For mains, we both ordered our own but ended up splitting because they both were so tasty! I ordered the hanger steak in red wine mushroom sauce and she ordered the roasted chicken. Both were absolutely to die for, especially the steak. I like my meats medium rare and very juicy and that is exactly how it came out. The mushroom sauce was also phenomenal and not too creamy- the perfect topping for the steak to give it a little more flavor. The chicken was crispy on the outside and moist on the inside- basically cooked to perfection. Both meals were very unique and suited to the French cuisine.
For the final course, we shared the creme brulee, which was the perfect end to a delicious meal. I tend to stray away from this dessert because the caramelization on the top leaves a strange taste sometimes, yet this was the perfect taste.
My overall experience at Lucien was a phenomenal one and I recommend this location over and over again. If you are feeling overwhelmed with the New York lifestyle and need an escape to the beautiful city of Paris, this is the perfect place to do that. You will enjoy a leisurely, beautiful meal and experience the lifestyle of a true Parisian in the meantime.