I’ve had croque monsieur, fondue, and even escargot, but I’ve never even heard of tarte flambée until I visited a restaurant by the same name in the Upper East Side.
It’s a dish that originated in the Alsace region of France and is like a mix between a pizza, crepe, and flatbread. The dough is rolled out to thin rectangle and topped with crème fraîche, onions, and bacons or lardons. The name means “pie baked in flames” and in the Alsace dialect, flammekueche means “cooked in the flames.” This totally makes sense since tarte flambées are baked in an oven with intense heat, just long enough so that the tarte is still a little soft but the edges are crispy and the cheese is melty.
I mean anything resembling a pizza/with cheese is worth a try in my book. La Tarte Flambée offers a few varieties built off of the traditional that has those three main ingredients mentioned above. To name a few of the options, there is the Forestière, which adds mushrooms; the Biquette, which adds goat cheese and honey; and the Provençale, which has no bacon but instead tomatoes, basil, and gruyere. You are also free to create your own from their selection of toppings.
The waiter recommended that the tarte flambée be shared, so I split a Gratinée with my friend. It had the crème fraîche, caramelized onions, and crispy bacon, but also had gruyère cheese.
Due to the thin crust and the gooey crème fraîche, things can get a little messy but that’s part of the fun. Also, it’s kind of a rule here. There’s a note on the menu and a sign on the wall saying “No Forking!” Although if you really do protest and need a utensil, they’ll oblige.
Also because the dough is so thin (it’s really more like a cracker than a bread), it’s definitely easy to split a couple with another person or two. I wasn’t that hungry when I came here, otherwise I definitely would’ve ordered a dessert one as well, which come with toppings like apples, cinnamon, strawberries, and chocolate sauce. That being said, the gratinée was absolutely delicious all by itself.
There are other food options at La Tarte Flambée like salads, soups, and sandwiches, but this place is really fun to go to with a small group of friends so you can order a bunch of tarte flambées to all share and dig into. With your hands, of course!
1750 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10128