Plein Sud, NYC
Executive Chef: Sebastien Agez
Price: $40-60 total per person
Address: 85 West Broadway, NYC 10007 (at the Smyth Hotel)
Phone: (212) 204-5555
Breakfast: Mon-Sun 6:30am – 11am
Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30am – 4:30pm
Dinner: Sun-Wed 4:30pm – 11pm // Thurs-Sat 4:30pm – 12am
Brunch: Sat-Sun 11:30am – 4:30pm
Plein Sud is an elegant French Brasserie that first opened summer of 2010 in the Smyth TriBeCa. The restaurant originally was helmed by Ed Cotton, a Top Chef alum, who, after two years, has moved on. In January 2012, Chef Sebastien Agez was brought in as the Executive Chef. Born and raised in France, Chef Agez with his passion for Southern French classics is well suited to Plein Sud. Prior to his arrival, Chef Agez has honed his skills at many historic and romantic NYC restaurants, including Café Des Artistes, Tavern on the Green, and The Russian Tea Room. The menu focuses on traditional Provençal dishes that are both hearty and affordable.
The concept team AvroKo (Public, The Hurricane Club, Beauty & Essex) designed the space to evoke a country farm-house feel with its weathered wood paneling, rustic tiles, and soft fabrics. I like the artful custom-lighting and the circular banquettes are cozy and snug. And what would a provincial France-inspired restaurant be without a television at the bar? At Plein Sud, you can get the French countryside and your sports fix all in one location.
Unlike its Thompson Hotel siblings, the social scene at the Smyth is a bit calmer and quieter. However, I have heard the Plein Sud bar is a popular afterwork watering hole and the sleek Toro Lounge just under the restaurant looks to be a great venue to sip on a few Southern France-inspired cocktails, such as the “Marie-Antoinette” with Hendrick’s Gin, Rosemary and Grapefruit.
I have been to Plein Sud a couple times for brunch and it is a lovely, family-friendly neighborhood spot. I personally think the quality of the food here is fantastic and continued to be so on my most recent visit. I adore the baked French Flatbreads which are offered at all services, particularly the Provençal (slow roasted tomato, goat cheese, fennel and olive tapenade) and the Plein Sud (hummus, merguez, feta, fennel, grilled zucchini & eggplant). The Croque Madame is fantastic and the egg dishes in general are classics. Brunch menu wise, I have not noticed a drastic revamp since the chef switch but I have heard the Duck Confit and Red Beet Tartare dinner additions by Chef Agez are stellar. A friend who has been for dinner loved the Caramelized Sea Scallops. Most dishes are reasonably priced, with the exception of a few sides — $6 for three paltry strips of bacon is just not worth it.
The service is usually very good; however, my last visit we definitely came on one server’s nightmare of a day. Service in general is very arbitrary though, and it would not deter me from returning to Plein Sud to enjoy another meal.
LES OEUFS a selection of fresh organic farm eggs
Eggs Norwegian: smoked salmon, 2 poached eggs, toasted English muffin, Hollandaise sauce
Classic and delicious
Piperade Basquaise: scrambled eggs, tomatoes, onions, red and yellow bell peppers, salad
Green Eggs: scrambled eggs with pesto, home fries, salad
I really need to try making my own pesto green eggs at home!
FROM THE GRIDDLE
Brioche French Toast: maple syrup, applewood smoked bacon, fresh berries
Fluffy and moist french toast with rich maple syrup complemented with smokey, savory bacon
SALADS AND SANDWICHES
Croque Madame: baked Parisian ham & Gruyere cheese sandwich with béchamel and a sunny side up egg
BRICK OVEN FIRED FRENCH FLATBREADS
The Provençal: slow roasted tomato, herbed goat cheese, fennel & olive tapenade
Delicious and robust Mediterranean flavors melded all together on a thin and crispy flatbread
Plein Sud: hummus, merguez, feta cheese, fennel, grilled zucchini & eggplant
I definitely want to try making this myself — I love how it uses hummus as the sauce base for the flatbread! Tasted delicious and very healthy
Steak Tartare Frites: handcut steak tartare, frites, petite salad
Very rich and fresh steak tartare, perfectly seasoned. My friend added a fried egg and the runny yolk mixed with the tartare was a fantastic combination
Not my favorite dish here… I prefer my brussels sprouts roasted to a nice crisp!