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On the strong advice from a friend (and Pete Wells), we had lunch on Monday at Dirty French.  One of the things I miss about living in NYC was how wonderfully empty the city was on long weekend holidays, and this Memorial Day was no different.  We stayed in SoHo, and the neighborhood felt like a ghost town as we made the walk east to the LES.  So for lunch at noon, we had the restaurant to ourselves.

Our waitress was charmingly odd, recommending things not by saying "this is one of my favorites," but "Oh man, I totally want you guys to get this...it's just so cool," and then stopping by later to make sure we thought it was as cool as she did.  She also wanted us to get a particular dessert just because she hadn't seen it before and heard it looked cool.  Like I said, odd, but a little endearing.

The grilled flatbread that comes out gratis with fromage blanc is addictive.  It lasted about 90 seconds before we completely devoured it.

The mushroom mille-feuille is as amazing as it was cracked up to be in Wells' review.  The buttery mushrooms paired with a thick Thai green curry, crunchy snow peas, and lightly pickled red chiles and ramps.  Go here and order this.  (Paired nicely with a Loire rose.)

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A salad of kale with chèvre, fried sun choke chips, and pear was a refreshing counterpoint to the heaviness of the mille-feuille.

A "banh mi" of foie gras and duck confit was totally ruined by being served on a thick, dense, sesame seeded roll.  We ended up scraping out the innards, and leaving all the bread behind.

We passed on dessert, planning to grab some gelato near the high line later, but the selections sounded promising.

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A "banh mi" of foie gras and duck confit was totally ruined by being served on a thick, dense, sesame seeded roll.  We ended up scraping out the innards, and leaving all the bread behind.

This is interesting - the foie gras and duck confit combined sounds like it *needs* a good, strapping dose of bread to counterbalance the richness - what am I missing here?

Dirty French sounds fascinating - did you get the warning about the $50 cancellation fee?

Here's a Dirty French review by Ruth Reichl - it sounds as if this restaurant has its detractors, and yet, Reich says about the Duck a l'Orange, "I don't think I've ever had a duck as delicious as this one." *That* is some high praise.

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This is interesting - the foie gras and duck confit combined sounds like it *needs* a good, strapping dose of bread to counterbalance the richness - what am I missing here?

Dirty French sounds fascinating - did you get the warning about the $50 cancellation fee?

Yeah, I think you'd want something a little more substantial than the authentic bread, but what they used was much, much too thick and dense.  A regular baguette would've worked nicely, I think.

I did get the notice about the fee when I made the reservation on opentable.  Other than Per Se, this was the only place we ate at that weekend that had a cancellation fee.  Given what I've learned on this board about the problems that no-shows cause restaurateurs, I was happy to give that "guarantee."  (FYI, we went for a weekday lunch, so the reservation was really not necessary, but I imagine it's helpful for dinner or weekend brunch.)

And yes, it is a fascinating place.  I would really like to go back for dinner with a group and really tear into the menu.

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