Foodie and Blogger fame sent me a note saying that he was heading to NYC from DC, I knew a little trip on the train was in order to meet up with him. After going through a plethora of Manhattan options, he said that we must make a visit to Le Singe Vert, aka The Green Monkey. So a trip on the NJ transit got me into Manhattan around 3:30PM, so I killed some time at Chelsea Market before heading back to 7th Avenue to meet up with Joe.
I walked in around 5:15PM, and they were just getting the restaurant in order, and ready for tonight's dinner service. I was greeted by French hostess Melissa, and grabbed a seat at the bar, for a glass of Cotes du Rhone as I waited for Joe. In this case it was an '07 Mas des Roches, and who can complain really at a NYC restaurant.
Joe arrived a few minutes later, and were were greeted by Chef Pascal. He found us a table in the back right hand corner of the restaurant, and talked to us about a few of his specials tonight, and some things that we just couldn't pass up.
This was a very traditional cassoulet, and absolutely delicious. As fun as this can be to make at home, it just isn't worth the time when I can come here and have this for under $25. This was a white bean stew base, with great tomato flavors. It was then topped with some braised pork belly, duck leg confit, and a delicious pork sausage. The flavors and seasoning here were right on, and this was a winner! I would definitely order this again for all of the different elements, and that says a lot considering I am not a big white bean fan.
The steak was cooked to a perfect medium, with a nice char on the outside, and a very juicy, hot pink center. The flavors from the grill were very nice, and you could tell that this was no cheap cut of meat. The texture and flavors melted in your mouth, and the Maitre de hotel butter on top wasn't even necessary, but it sure did add some nice flavor to it. This too was served with French fries, and a side of watercress. All the items were very nice, and at this point I was stuffed.
We ended up skipping dessert, because at this point we were stuffed. Joe's good friend George ended up stopping by, and we hung out and shot the bull with Chef Pascal for a while, as we sipped our beverages. At this point, I had switched to a nice Grenache, Carignan, Syrah blend, that was going down smoothly, and very nicely.
All in all, this was an absolutely fantastic dinner, and given the location, I think the pricing was extremely affordable. It was nice to meet Chef Pascal, who was a great guy, and who has a true passion for food. Having the opportunity to talk with a very talented chef throughout the evening is a bonus anywhere, but in Manhattan it is almost unheard of. He obviously has a great staff who he can trust behind the line, and I think this restaurant is turning out some great French cuisine.
In short, I found a great new spot, with great ambiance, a nice selection of wines by the glass that you may not see on most wines lists, and great food. If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend it, and I know that I will be back for the Chacuterie alone soon! Cheers!
Le Singe Vert
160 7th Avenue (between 19th and 20th) in Chelsea
New York, NY
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