“Un repas sans vin est un jour sans soleil”
“A meal without wine is like a day without sun” – French Proverb
If you didn’t check out their popular Bastille Day celebration photos on my last post, here is another chance to virtually visit this cool 60’s style French bistro aptly named Bar Tabac. This post was originally written for my Brooklyn Blog, Le Quartier Francais, back in 2010. It’s still a wonderful place to eat and drink…
“If you arrive after 8pm, you might catch the rattle of a drum beat or hear the jazzy guitar riffs drifting out of the open doors on a live music night. After a long day of walking, you may be enticed by the abundance of outdoor seating available on the “terrace,” a frenchy way of saying you have the option to dine right on the sidewalk. Equally appealing are the cherry-red awning that wraps around the whole place and the old fashioned gold lettering on the windows announcing “restaurant,” “bar.” Oh yes, this is a French bistro. This is Bar Tabac.
Inside, dark wood panels line the walls in the front, while exposed brick does the job in the back. An abundance of lightweight mahogany chairs and tables ensure that there’s a seat for everyone. Antique ad posters on the walls tout classic French liqueurs like Suze and Ricard, while the occasional Parisian street sign makes one feel as if they were on a European vacation. A foosball table is also known to make appearances just outside the entrance in fine weather- you just might have to wait your turn. The waiters and waitresses are all European expats or stylish Brooklynites who make you feel like you’ve made the right choice by coming here.
In need of a drink? Feel free to approach the bar to the right of the entrance. This is one of the few places in the neighborhood that serve special Belgian beers like Leffe and Duval on tap. From the bargain-for-your-buck Côtes du Rhône to the more sophisticated Châteauneuf du Pape, Bar Tabac offers a solid wine list for only being one page in length, and also includes several vins du monde to add to the French selection. Lucky for us, one may also order bubbly by the glass!
For a brunch affair, the organic egg menu is full of tasty delights- the poached egg is served milky white and firm with a perfectly thick liquid golden yolk running down the side once punctured with a fork. On a cold day, the goat cheese salad served warm with beets, apples and walnuts dressed in raspberry vinaigrette is the best tangy accompaniment to the rich, comforting classic onion soup. If you’re in the mood to share, it is highly recommended to get the moules frites– a heap of steamed mussels cooked in a creamy sauce flavored with white wine and shallots, coupled with a small barquette of crispy French fries with both ketchup and the European choice: mayonnaise, for dipping. You won’t be sorry! You will also notice after your order arrives that each surrounding table will subsequently be brought the same thing. Hmmmm.
The dinner crowd will be pleasantly satisfied with the French bistro classics- steak frites, coq au vin, salade niçoise, duck confit and even the truite amandine. That’s right, they do have it all.
If you are not afraid of being labeled a gourmand (somewhere between a glutton and a gourmet) please order the raspberry cheesecake. One can only justly compare it to a fluffy slice of cloud brought straight down from heaven. Bon appétit!”
128 Smith Street (at Dean St.)
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Metro: F or G train to Bergen St.
© Jessica’s Franglais 2015