The who: Pascal Oudin, the chef-owner of Pascal’s on Ponce, known for contemporary takes on classic French cuisine, has opened the new Brasserie Central in the swanky Village of Merrick Park shopping mall.
The space: The 147-seat indoor-outdoor space is outfitted in butcher-block tables, bistro chairs and antiqued mirrors. Plenty of al fresco tables take advantage of the mall’s picturesque courtyard (and currently a festive holiday tree).
The dishes: Classic bistro staples. Expect specialties like housemade sausages, pate and charcuterie; artisanal cheeses; stove-to-table cocotte stews; and homemade pastries. Prices are reasonable: starters $8-$26, sandwiches and salads $8-$16, entrees $15-$36.
Starters include light platters of smoked salmon with creme fraiche, quiche of the day and escargots de Bourgogne. A hand-cut steak tartare is mixed with egg yolk, onions, cornichons and capers, and served with a side of crispy pommes frites. Hearty French farmhouse cooking is offered in coq au vin, slowly cooked chicken in wine with onions, mushrooms and bacon.
Desserts include crêpe suzette and a warm Belgian waffle drizzled with Chantilly and caramel.
The Bottom Line: There’s no shortage of French restaurants in this town, but as long as someone is serving coq au vin and escargot, we can rally.