On Bastille Day, local Frenchmen party like it’s 1789.
While the official day is July 14, the real action doesn’t start until the weekend. And from Bay Ridge to Smith Street to Williamsburg, any restaurant worth its croque madame will be celebrating the holiday, which basically commemorates France’s declaration of independence from itself.
Now we’re as American as tarte tatin, but we never had anything against the French (even during those dark “Freedom Fries” days), so you can be sure we’ll be hitting the Ricard pretty hard this week. You can, too, with our handy guide to getting the most joie for your vivre.
Bar Tabac will be the centerpiece of a blocks-long party on Sunday, July 18.
The French eatery, at Dean Street, will be waving the ol’ rouge, blanc and bleu by hauling in 20 tons of sand for
North America’s largest pétanque tournament. Eighty teams with players from around the world will ruthlessly compete for the championship in this vaguely interesting national pastime (see sidebar).
Other Smith Street restaurants, including Apartment 138 and Robin Des Bois, will conduct their business outdoors, offering French street fare like moules frites and merguez, a spicy sausage sandwich. Provence En Boite will also provide some live music to listen to while feasting on traditional French street food, such as croque madame.
“It’s so nuts,” says Nate Bowley, manager at Bar Tabac. “It’s our busiest day, but everybody is in a festive mood.” When asked if he had any pétanque tips, he offered, “Get some loft on that ball.”
Bar Tabac [128 Smith St. at Dean Street, (718) 923-0918]; Apartment 138 [138 Smith St. between Dean and Bergen streets, (718) 858-0556]; Robin Des Bois [195 Smith St. between Warren and Baltic streets, (718) 596-1609].
In Williamsburg, Juliette is pulling out all the stops for its Bastille Day celebration on July 17. Where else can you listen to live French jazz music, perfect your accent with free French lessons, and enjoy some BBQ, all while enjoying the view from a rooftop bar?
For the true Francophile enthusiast, come dressed in a French-themed costume and enjoy a free Guillotine cocktail — a concoction of rum, Lillet white, marachino and lime. Not sure what to wear? A beret and white and blue-striped top will have you enjoying that Guillotine in no time.
Juliette [135 N. Fifth Ave. near Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, (718) 388-9222].
The crepe is the French specialty, from sidewalk vendors serving up Nutella heavenliness to the less guilt-inducing dinner crepes. Luckily, you don’t have to cross an ocean for one, as Saint Germain in Bay Ridge has been winning fans over with its affordable French cuisine, and charming decor.
Save your French appreciation this Bastille Day for the weekend and head to the restaurant for brunch. Choose from their savory crepes, with combinations like mushroom and mozzerella, more traditional brunch fare like eggs Benedict, the French staple of croque-monsieur, or ironically order the French toast.
Each dish is served with a pastry from its bakery, too, so make sure to leave room for dessert.
Saint Germain [8303 Third Ave. between 83rd and 84th streets in Bay Ridge, (718) 745-8899)].
©2010 Community News Group
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