Plein Sud

| September 19, 2012

Weekend brunch is a staple for most New Yorkers, and by far my favorite meal of the week. Last Saturday I ventured from my neighborhood of the Upper East Side to enjoy some fine French fare at Plein Sud, or “Far South.” Located at the Smyth Hotel in TriBeCa, this modern, Provençal-inspired brasserie was a perfect spot for a lazy afternoon of people watching and week rehashing with my good friend Dana. We eyed the menu intently, sizing up our top choices: Michael’s Country Tartine with crispy ham and cheese topped with tomato and a fried egg, the Plein Sud chopped salad combining mixed greens, apple, celery, aged cheddar, bacon, and ripe cherry tomatoes, and grilled chicken topped with a creamy herb dressing, the Brioche French Toast topped with sautéed bananas and maple syrup, and Le Burger Royale Au Fromage, an 8 oz black angus stuffed with cheese (and to think I’ve been ordering the cheese on top of the burger this whole time! The French are so progressive).  After much contemplation and a little help from our server, Dana chose the chopped salad and I finally decided on the tartine. We then settled into our comfy leather booth, and I took a moment to fully appreciate my mimosa while Dana shared her newfound appreciation for dating men with access to bike storage in their building–I guess life really is about simple pleasures.

When our food arrived, my eyes were immediately drawn to the chopped salad. The way the sweet and crisp julienned red apple and fresh tomatoes balanced the creamy cubes of cheddar and savory grilled chicken and bacon was the perfect combination of not only texture and flavor, but aesthetic that one could only summarize as an epicurean trifecta!

The tartine was unlike any other traditional brunch dish I’ve ever ordered. For etiquette’s sake, I attempted to use a fork and knife to cut through the layers of egg, ham and cheese and toasted brioche, but quickly resigned to lifting the entire sandwich to my mouth and taking a massive bite that was so fulfilling and flavorful that I’m literally salivating even as I write this. Every bite started with a crunch and ended with the delicious aftertaste of egg yoke and melted butter. I was so preoccupied with finishing my tartine that I almost…yes, ALMOST neglected my side of hand-cut herb fries. By the end of the meal, I was pleasantly full and vowed to return again to try other menu highlights such as the Tartare De Boeuf Frites, the Provençal Oven-baked Flatbread, and Pressed Herb Roasted Lamb Sandwich–just a few other simple pleasures of living in a city where a great meal is totally worth a trip “plein sud.”