by Julie Besonen, 07/03/2013
Photo: Henry Hargreaves
158 Eighth Ave., 646-596-8838, Chelsea, Manhattan
When you have good bones, you don't need much of a face-lift. For more than 20 years, this Chelsea bistro was the captivating Gascogne. Et voila! Montmartre is its new identity, spruced up with white paint, black tabletops and photos of music icons like Mos Def, inevitably leading to talk of concerts you're jealous you missed. This is Gabe Stulman's latest downtown sensation (after Joseph Leonard, Jeffrey's Grocery, Fedora, Perla and Chez Sardine, in case you haven't kept up), teaming up this time with Tien Ho, a Momofuku alum. He perks up French classics with Asian accents, such as coconut, chili and cilantro flavoring the broth for moules frites. Then there's pot-au-pho for two, a seductive blend of short ribs, oxtail, leeks, Thai basil and hoisin. At lunch the most tempting item is croque monsieur topped with smoked salmon, scallions and a sprinkling of salmon roe. The space is as narrow as an alley in the Parisian neighborhood it's named for, leading to a beautiful back garden.