How much do you know about Alsatian food? What about the region of Alsace in France? I myself knew zilch about both before coming to New York City, and since then, I’ve only learned a little after eating at La Tarte Flambée. Shall we dive a little deeper?
Located on the eastern border of France, by Germany and Switzerland, Alsace is the smallest region in Metropolitan France. Since I’m in teaching mode here, I’ll tell you something else I just learned. Metropolitan France is the part of France located in Europe including the mainland and nearby islands in the Atlantic Ocean, English Channel, and Mediterranean Sea. Together with Overseas France, which includes the French overseas departments, territories, and collectivities, it makes up the French Republic. This American just learned something new! Now back to Alsace!
Alsatian cuisine is influenced by German food traditions and is characterized by its prominent use of pork. Popular dishes are baeckeoffe, which is a mix of potatoes, onions, mutton, beef, and pork; choucroute garnie, which is sauerkraut with sausages and other charcuterie and potatoes; fleischschnackas, which is rolled pasta stuffed with meat (the word literally means “snails of meat”!); and tarte flambée, which I talk more about in another post.
While Cafe d’Alsace serves food all day, it’s quite popular for brunch/breakfast, which is when I went (and got seated after a short wait). With that menu, you can get some of those Alsatian dishes I mentioned above; French favorites like quiche lorraine, onion soup gratinee, croque monsieur, and steak frites; as well as other dishes like grilled boudin blanc and smoked pork sausages, steak tartare, and grilled Scottish salmon. I ordered the omelette d’alsace off the “specialties” section. It’s an omelette with smoked pork sausage and aged gruyere, and it comes with roasted potatoes and mixed greens.
I’ve never had sausage inside an omelette before, and I liked the heartiness it added. Plus gruyere with anything is good with me. Sidenote: Have you guys been seeing all the articles swirling around the internet about how cheese addiction is a real thing? Tear. Even though the omelette was the main feature of my dish, I thought the potatoes were well-seasoned and truly excellent.
If you decide to come during a different time of the day, there’s a three course prix-fixe lunch you can get for $25 as well as a $38 dinner prix-fixe course. I’d love to come back and try something else like the duck burger (drool!) or lobster ravioli (double drool!), because the Executive Chef here, Philippe Roussel, has quite the resume. He’s cooked at multiple Michelin-starred restaurants in France, was Executive Sous Chef at Windows on the World (the restaurant that was at the top of the World Trade Center North Tower), and once worked at the wildly popular Daniel.
While you are learning more about Alsace and its cuisine, have a look at the traditional Alsatian headdress for women. My friends and I saw pictures of the famous black bow when we went to the bathroom at Cafe d’Alsace, and they’re marvelous!
1695 2nd AveNew York, NY 10128