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Paris Commune

“Will the food be rich and heavy?” my slim mate wondered as we entered Paris Commune, a French-inspired eatery on Bank and 8th ave. in the West Village. “After all, it is French!” I did not have an answer for her, but three hours later, having tasted several of their most unique dishes paired with some excellent wine, we left satiated but not gorged. Conclusion: this New York interpretation of a French restaurant, while remaining true to it roots and flavors has a modern sensitivity to New York sensibilities and culinary preferences.

Paris Commune has been in business for a long time (over a third of a century). This is a good thing because it means that it owners, Jaime Martinez and Hugo Uys, have been responsive to the desires of its patrons. On the other hand, in New York at least, this could be a restaurant's Achilles heal. Old and established does not necessarily draw a crowd in this city of constant reinvention. But reinvention is exactly what Paris Commune specializes in. With their new executive chef, Chef David Ogren, Paris Commune is clearly making a play for modern and innovative. Chef David, a Culinary Institute of America graduate is also a veteran of Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry. He sources much of his produce from the Union Square farmer’s market and other local sources of fresh produce. He is creative, meticulous, and will remove items from the menu if fresh produce is not available.

Paris Commune, in this quiet corner of Greenwich Village, is the type of place you would go to if you were a celebrity trying to dine away from autograph-seekers and paparazzi (and many come to Paris Commune for exactly that reason) or if you simply want to enjoy an exceptional meal in a romantic ambience. It exudes an exotic Bohemian ambience. The deep red walls, low lights, and quiet corners provide privacy yet you may still absorb enough neighboring conversation to inspire an evening of new thoughts.

The Rouge Wine Bar downstairs provides an even more striking entertainment getaway. Its mural of dancers and candelabras and wines stacked along the walls is a perfect venue for an intimate party. You may rent this space for private events.

My favorite spot for dinner is the dining room opposite the upstairs bar. Providing perfect access to both the street and enlivened bar patrons, it is a window to a possibly surprising West Village experience.

Culinarily speaking you can expect to be surprised and delighted. The menu ranges from some French classics such as french onion soup, to the less expected briny grilled ostrich with kiwi-habanero sauce, served medium rare (ostrich, gladly, neither looks nor tastes like chicken). Besides ostrich, our favorites included a creamy escargot, a light beet and mache salad (mache is a French lettuce only recently available in the U.S.), and poached pear and pot de chocolat for dessert. We enjoyed Prosecco, Brut, Bortolotti, It. NV, with the escargot, Sauvignon Blanc, Château Grand Plessis, Fr. ’08 with the beet salad and Pinot Noir, Girasole Vineyards, Mendocino, CA ’08 with the ostrich. 

You can trust Paris Commune to deliver both an exceptional culinary treat as well as an evening worth remembering and repeating.

Paris Commune is located at 99 Bank Street, corner Greenwich Street, New York • For reservations call 212-929-0509 • • 

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