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Bar Breton


Note: Bar Breton closed in February 2012. It has been renamed La Quenelle with the same chef/owner, Cyril Reynaud. He has dropped crêpes and will serve a more traditional French menu. Fleur de Sel, his other restaurant referred to in the review below, has also since closed, so it is not surprising that he wants to use this space to do something a bit more elaborate.


Bar Breton opened about six weeks ago in the Flatiron District. It’s the casual sibling to Fleur de Sel, Cyril Renaud’s Michelin-starred place nearby.

Like many restaurants named “Bar X” these days (Bar Boulud, Bar Blanc, etc., etc.), there is a bar, but it’s beside the point. The menu offers a mix of French brasserie standards along with savory crêpes known as galettes. There are four of these ($12–18), along with small plates called niacs ($8–12), soups & salads ($10–14), mains ($16–26), sides ($5) and desserts ($6–8).

The niacs and galettes are in varying sizes. Some of the niacs are just nibbles, and others are full-blown appetizers. Some of the galettes are appetizers, and others can stand in for main courses. There’s a potential for confusion, but our server’s guidance was spot-on.

The whole menu fits on a page, and except for the burger, it stays true to Chef Renaud’s Brittany roots. It is also terrific food at a budget price. Our bill for two, including a bottle of wine for $32, came in below $100 (before tip). That isn’t easily done these days.

There is a $35 “restaurant week” menu, which I believe will be available at least through the end of February. You get four courses for that price, which is a great deal, though we chose to spend less than that by getting two courses each à la carte.

To start, we had the Salt Baked Potato with braised oxtail ($12; above left) and the Suckling Pig & Foie Gras Terrine ($11; above right). Both came from the niacs section of the menu.

I loved the Braised Lamb Shank galette with roasted winter vegetables ($18; below left). My girlfriend had the burger ($16; below right). I didn’t try it, but I did try the fries, which were perfect. Our theory is that no brasserie has any business serving fries unless it can nail them. Bar Breton did.

I have only one minor complaint. The back of the long, narrow space is separated from the kitchen by two swinging doors that let in a lot of bright light. It slightly mars the ambiance of what would otherwise be a nice room. Obviously it is a casual room, but a sturdier partition could have blocked out the kitchen light.

On a Friday night, the space was close to full by 8:00 p.m., which is always encouraging for a new restaurant. Service was fine, including a nice basket of fresh bread. In a tough economic climate for restaurants, this is one that deserves to succeed.

Bar Breton (254 Fifth Avenue between 28th & 29th Streets, Gramercy/Flatiron District)

Food: *½
Service: *
Ambiance: *
Overall: *

Reader Comments (2)

Do not bother. The service is so blatently selective and horrible. Waiters pay attention to table with parties of 3 or more while Single Serving was left waiting 15 minutes before the waiter came to me, another 10 minutes to receive my Ice Tea which came warm with a lemon with brown lemon rind, thrown in the glass. Okay now we are at the 25 minute mark.
Having ordered the Salad from the menu, you would think this would be easy enough.
But know another 20 minutes and still no salad. I asked for the manager, who arrived and did nothing. Just looked at me and walked away when I explained I had now been waiting for 45 minutes and had not received my salad.
On the way out, I asked the front desk area for the owners name and one person almost gave it to me unti the manager came up (real nasty) and blocked the conversation. He asked the bartender how long and he told him 40 minutes and he just smirked and said well I am not going to do nothing.
Don't bother, wish I could tell you about the food but I never received any.

April 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

My husband and I had a fabulous meal there last night. The galette with parmesan and prosciutto was scrumptious, as were the stuffed squid with merguez. Then, he had the pork and I had the chicken -- both out of this world. Basically, you are getting Cyril Renaud's amazing food for very low prices. I can't wait to go back. Also, nice friendly service and a fun atmosphere.

November 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMiriam Charna

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