Le Philosophe is a great addition to the new restaurant scene in NoHo. With recent hotspots and craveable eats such as Mile End Deli, ACME, Andrew Carmellini’s soon to be Lafayette, Danny Meyer’s soon to be juice bar and even SoulCycle. I mean thank goodness I just moved to this neighborhood at the end of last year. Anyway, Le Philosophe offers a calm and collective atmosphere where you can refresh and relax here any day of the week. A Friday night is busy with a good crowd but not swarming where you have to scream over others to hear yourself. The restaurant’s color scheme is grey, black and white with philosopher’s faces lining the back left wall. The open kitchen gives off bright lighting creating a contrast with the opposite darker side of the room.
You might have noticed the lack of French restaurant reviews on Chekmark Eats. That’s either because I can’t understand the menus or because they are usually too stuffy and fancy for enjoyment. Le Philosphe really turned this ridiculous generalization around. I mean let’s be real, thermidor although never in my vocabulary did not stand in my way when I ordered the lobster on this menu. All of the meats and seafoods melt in your mouth giving you an experience you might not have had with frog legs or duck. The mussels bathe in a spicy sauce and each one is huge, meaty and tender. These could possibly be the largest mussels at any New York City restaurant that I’ve ever seen. The frog legs are fun indeed. Don’t be fooled by the bright green sauce. They offer a bit of crunch and the combination of the textures with the sunchokes and mushrooms are exhilarating. The entrees presented are just as beautiful and exciting to attack. The Lobster Thermidor portion is perfect and the haricot verts are crunchy and crispy melting alongside the tender and buttery lobster. It’s extremely satisfying and rewarding. The Hake is flaky and light but I didn’t love that it was matched with beans as they seemed to hearty for this piece of fish. The Duck almost killed my friend because she loved it so much…I swear she would have licked the plate if she wasn’t in public. The turnips sitting alongside the duck were delicious.
Profiterole lovers beware. These three honkers are filled with amazing ice cream and slathered in chocolate ganache. The Tart Tatin with Mutsu Apple, however, was not my fancy. The main thing about this restaurant is that the scene, stellar service and strong flavors of the food are so enjoyable it all works together to allow you to slow down and pause from your crazy city life or buzzing cell phone.