Le Philosophe: New-Wave French in NoHo

Le Philosophe New York

From the classics on the menu—pâté, escargots, blanquette de veau, and the like—you might think you know what Le Philosophe is about. Think again. Matthew Aita, a former sous-chef at Jean-Georges, updates and lightens French standards like frog legs (pictured), sautéed with hen of the woods mushrooms and sunchokes and served atop a sauce of puréed watercress and garlic. "Completely not what I expected," Ziggy41 writes on Chowhound. "More like a beautiful little salad."

Other winners: fat Maine mussels in broth seasoned with Aleppo pepper; perfectly cooked duck à l’orange, nicely crisped and not too orangey; and escargots sauvages with garbanzos and a curryish black-garlic sauce—"another classic that didn't look anything like the classic," as Ziggy41 describes it. Le Philosophe arrived in November, part of a new wave of downtown French restaurants, and sam1 says it's a keeper: "Of all of the new French places, I like Le Philosophe the best."

Le Philosophe [NoHo]
55 Bond Street (between Lafayette Street and Bowery), Manhattan
212-388-0038

Discuss: Le philosophe
Pearl & Ash, The Marrow, Le Philosophe, or Lincoln?

Photo by Chowhound user Ziggy41