For years, French eateries In New York City have felt stuffy and contrived. However, over the past few years, bistros are burgeoning, and Michelin-starred Chef John Fraser is finally jumping on board. In collaboration with Executive Chef Rick Horiike, La Marchande brings a convivial French brasserie with Southeast Asian influence to The Wall Street Hotel and the Financial District.
The restaurant is not only situated on site of America’s first stock exchange, but is a stone’s throw away from South Street Seaport, where fishermen would venture centuries ago to vend pearls as well as their daily catch. Directly translating to “the merchant,” La Marchande pays homage to the historical significance of its location, juxtaposed with a reimagination of classic French cuisine.
Chef Fraser has created a niche for himself in redefining the role of veggies on the menus of each restaurant he graces, working with hyperlocal purveyors to curate the freshest array of ingredients. The only thing missing from his and Chef Horiike’s menu is the heavy butter-and-cream elements of typical French dishes. All of the plates are rooted in tradition and may read as complex, yet, with the addition of Asian flavors and ingredients, are incredibly approachable.
Standout options include the Summer Rolls (Beef Tartare, Steamed Lobster, Ahi Tuna, Shiitake); the Petit Seafood Tower (6 oysters, 6 littleneck clams, shrimp cocktail, pickled PEI mussels, “Boozy Mignonette”) and Grand Seafood Tower (12 oysters, 6 littleneck clams, shrimp cocktails, tuna tartare, pickled PEI mussels, ½ lobster, “Boozy Mignonette”), Peanut Butter Duck (duck confit spring roll, figs, fish sauce caramel), and Dover Sole (roasted or steamed, vermouth-lime butter).
Beverage Director and Advanced Sommelier Amy Racine has carefully concocted an array of predominantly French wines, as well as craft cocktails and apéritifs. The ornately carved wooden bar accented with brass mirrors and green marble creates an inviting perch for after-work drinks or toasts late into the evening.
In terms of design, independent interior design company Charles & Co. engendered a sexy, swanky Café Society vibe that brings timeless regality to this lobby restaurant. Guests flow through the space as though they would through a home, at first moving through the bar area, then through the parlor with the raw bar and open kitchen, ending in the main dining room. The heavily layered patterns and vintage furniture truly welcome diners to make La Marchande their home away from home.
Location: Financial District
Cuisine: French with Asian influences
Price Point: $$$
Takes Reservations: Yes
Our favorite thing on the menu: The Summer Rolls, which happen to be perfectly appropriate all year round. The Ahi Tuna––filled with garlic-chili aioli, avocado, and Thai basil––is particularly piquant.
The vibe: Convivial, vibey French brasserie meets New York cool in the historic pearl trading district.
The attire based on the vibe: Smart casual
Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner: Breakfast: Daily 7 am – 10 am; Dinner: Tuesday & Wednesday 5 pm – 10 pm / Thursday – Saturday 5 pm – 11 pm; Happy Hour (*available at the bar only): Tuesday – Saturday 5 pm – 6:30 pm
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