We have been frequenting Cercle Rouge since we lived in the South Street Seaport 6 years ago. They are part of a restaurant group Forgeois Group, which includes Cafe Noir in Soho, another favorite spot. Most recently, they opened Clarkson.
The atmosphere and menu are 100% French Bistro. We spend full days sitting in the sun, sipping wine and enjoying great food in the summer. In the winter, we stop in for French Onion Soup, their famous Cercle Wings and hearty cassoulet. They are very reliable, far more so than Les Halles these days for bistro food. The service can be as sketchy as Les Halles, though. Depends if they’re really busy outside.
Our favorite dishes are for sure the Cercle Wings, which are boned and re-attached to the bone in a little ball on the end. The blue cheese dressing is rich and true blue. They are famed for their Foie Gras terrine as well as their killer Rillet of Pork & Duck. Murray’s Cheese is available on a cheese plate.
I am also a fan of the mussels, prepared in any one of 3 ways; white wine, tomato or fennel w/cream sauce. The portion is gigantic, so share unless you can eat 30 mussels! Steak frites is also a good bet.
In summer, I am particularly fond of the butter lettuce salads, either with goat cheese croutons or with crab. In winter, the frisee salad with poached eggs and lardons.
241 West Broadway – TriBeCa