La Gamelle Brings a Touch of Paris to

     NYC’s Bowery By John Mariani

 06/13/2016 02:56 pm ET

John MarianiPublisher of “Mariani’s Virtual Gourmet Newsletter” and award-winning author


Though now thoroughly gentrified, the Bowery (left)was once synonymous with downtown grit. As the old song goes,

The Bow’ry, the Bow’ry!
They say such things,
And they do strange things
On the Bow’ry! The Bow’ry!

I’ll never go there anymore! 





















New restaurants are usually the first to venture onto once derelict streets like The Bowery, and now that the New Museum has become a draw there, with Daniel Boulud’s poupualr DBGB next door, the lights are on everywhere, none more charmingly than at La Gamelle (French for a bowl or lunch pail). Open a little over a year, the pleasantly sized bar and two dining rooms have all the trappings you’d hope for in a Parisian-style bistro, from the tile floors and banquettes to the zinc bar and tables covered with both cloths and paper. Many of the furnishings were brought over from France, and the overhead lighting and ambient colors of the place makes it seems like it’s been this way for decades.

Initial reports on the food were muted, but a year later, La Gamelle has hit its stride now that owner Dimitri Vlahakis has brought in Chef Denis Kuc, who’s worked at BLT Bar & Grill and BLT Fish, Dovetail, The Modern, and Artisanal, and consulting chef Michael Burbella, formerly of Gramercy Tavern and Gotham Bar & Grill—all among NYC’s best kitchens. The menu is still solidly that of a French bistro of a kind no one can possibly tire of, with novel additions each night in the same style.
A new Master Sommelier, Harold Toussaint, founder of the restaurant’s Wine School, has added measurably to the wine list, so it’s well worth your while to consult him before ordering. He’s got some rare bottlings back there at reasonable prices, although on the printed list wines by the glass are sky-high, like a Château La Grange Clinet 2009 that sells for about $12 a bottle in a store goes for a whopping $13 by the glass at La Gamelle and $48 for the bottle. 
Our table ordered a generous platter of housemade charcuterie ($37) that included a hearty pȃté de champagne, creamy foie gras, pâté en croûte, saucisson sec, Serrano ham, and pâté musketeer, with two kinds of good bread and butter, which went well with a lovely summer’s rosé wine. Carabiñero shrimp [market price] are grilled and nicely seared while the shrimps’ texture remained velvety, drizzled with olive oil with frisée lettuce. Steaming hot escargots ($12/$22) had an assertive garlic-parsley butter, which, let’s face it, is the whole reason to eat snails, while roasted octopus citronette ($18) took well to the lemon and olive oil dressing.


There is a selection of moules frites ($24), and we sampled a main course bowl of well-sized (meaning not too large) mussels in a white wine, saffron, celery, shallots, and garlic cream broth that was all right but should have had more depth. Onion soup gratinée ($12) had plenty of depth and the onions were well caramelized beneath the browned bubbly cheese.






















There was a similar sweetness to a hefty platter of boneless short ribs ($34), braised for four hours and served with sautéed Swiss chard, beet and horseradish relish, and baby carrots, while the hanger steak ($28) had just the right chewiness that both characterizes and makes this French cut so delicious, served with a well-made bordelaise, rich bone marrow and perfectly wrought pommes frites. Terrified we might not have enough pommes frites, we ordered another batch ($9) for the table and left very few behind. 
Duck confit is too easy to make and then leave hanging around in the refrigerator, but La Gamelle’s was obviously made that day, with just enough cooking fat (without being greasy) suffused into the meaty duck meat ($24), served with buttery roesti potatoes done till tender in a skillet. Grilled asparagus ($9) were glazed with truffle essence and shaved Parmigiano. 
Pastry chef Richard Chirol stays with classic French desserts (all $10), including a nougat glacé meringue with crème fraîche frozen mousse, caramelized nuts, confit of fruit, and raspberry sauce; plump profiteroles in puff pastry with vanilla ice cream and warm chocolate sauce; even good old-fashioned île flotante of egg white meringues bobbing in crème anglaise. The tart Tatin of caramelized apples with crème fraîche was in need of more caramelization and surface brittle.
I must note that on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays La Gamelle has first-rate jazz with a Bossa Nova swing that never intrudes on dinner conversation. Then again, the group is so good, you’ll probably stop talking and just listen. 
The fact that La Gamelle has not chosen to go trendy, neither in its look or food, as so many neighboring restaurants have, is applaudable for all sorts of reasons, not least because Parisian bistros never go out of style as long as they go out of their way to please their guests. 
Open nightly for dinner, Sat.&Sun. for brunch; $35 Gallerists’ Menu, offered Mon.-Fri., 5pm-7pm, includes 3 three courses drawn from the complete menu (appetizer, main and dessert); for an additional $10, guests are treated to some of the finest wines on the list, not typically available by the glass. 

La Gamelle 
241 Bowery (near Prince Street)







French bistros are famous for escargots and great steak frites, but don’t pass on this mouthwatering burger. The 10oz short rib-brisket blend is topped with some carefully prepared toppings that showcase the rich beef. Jammy caramelized onions, earthy mushrooms, melted Gruyère cheese, black truffle mayo, celery root remoulade, and cornichons bring this masterpiece together. Plain and simple: the French kick our asses in the burger game




















Till & Sprocket: What’s Cooking?

written by Rona Berg October 10, 2018

  • Beet Tartare, Goat Cheese, Lemon Crème Fraiche Salad

  • From Denis Kuc, executive chef, Till & Sprocket

For a neighborhood restaurant in Manhattan, the popular Till & Sprocket certainly has an elevated pedigree. Executive Chef Denis Kuc honed his skills at top New York eateries like The Modern, Nobu, Dovetail, BLT Fish and La Gamelle, where he was executive chef. “My cooking style is gastro pub,” says Kuc. “Bistro, French, with Mediterranean—Turkish and Greek—influences. I always want to try something new.”

Enjoy this delicious recipe from Chef Denis Kuc, Till & Sprocket.

Beet Tartare, Goat Cheese, Lemon Crème Fraiche Salad

From Denis Kuc, executive chef, Till & Sprocket

For beet tartare:

  • 4 pounds beets (cooked, shredded and chilled)

  • 1/2 cup red onion or shallots, minced

  • 2 tablespoons capers, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons chives, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 2 tablespoons horseradish, shredded

  • Salt and pepper to taste

For lemon crème fraiche:

  • 1 quart crème fraiche

  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced

For goat cheese:

  • 2 cups fresh goat cheese (softened in room temp for 15 min)

  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced

  • 1 tablespoon salt

For garnish:

  • 2 tablespoons chopped pistachio

  • Micro “bull’s blood” (a red microgreen; if unavailable, substitute other microgreens)

  • Hydro mache (also known as Lamb’s lettuce)


1. In a medium bowl, mix cooked and shredded beets with shallots, capers, chives, and lemon juice, olive oil and horseradish.

2. In a separate bowl mix crème fraiche, lemon zest and juice.

3. In a separate bowl mix softened goat cheese, lemon zest and juice, and salt, then form a quenelle (an egg-like shape).

4. Place beet mixture in the middle of the plate.

5. Spread the lemon crème fraiche around the beet.

6. Place goat cheese quenelle on the top of beet tartare.

7. Garnish with pistachio, bull’s blood and mache.

8. Serve cold.

© 2023 by Salt & Pepper. Proudly created with