In what may seem like an unexpected offering from the farm-to-fork force at Purdy’s Farmer & the Fish in North Salem, petite village-pleaser Bistro de Ville presents a full-circle moment for the restaurateurs — and the right addition to lower Westchester’s foodie scene.
“We are classically French-trained chefs,” says co-owner Michael Kaphan of himself and his chef de cuisine, Kurt Hermanson, fresh from the kitchen of Manhattan’s Bar Boulud. Co-owner Kevin O’Neill, a Culinary Institute of America grad who’s spent seven years as chef de cuisine at Purdy’s, lists a number of notable New York City French restaurants on his resume. “This is a return to our roots,” Kaphan says.
With the intention to establish not so much a special occasion destination but rather “a warm, cozy, neighborhood bistro with a good vibe,” Kaphan and company proffer a tight but well-rounded menu of seasonally driven, classic French fare in a rustically refined, laidback setting. Towering glass doors escort light to the intimate space, enlivening richly hued walls that glisten with gold, hand-painted palm fronds.
Café-size tables and a row of lush banquettes create an ambience that lends itself to lingering over coupes of Champagne and starter plates of house-prepared pâté and luscious duck mousse, crisp Caesar salad with hunks of near-hardboiled egg, or zippy roasted cauliflower atop a vibrant beet hummus seasoned with za’atar. Oysters and Maine lobster cocktail present a lighter way to ease into entrées of silken oven-roasted duck breast (no knife necessary) with a confit leg and thigh, and on-the-bone chicken, brined and roasted daily. “We don’t take shortcuts,” says Kaphan.
Steak frites, born from a juicy New York strip, is served with hand-cut shoestring potatoes, and a blossoming bowl of moules frites sways just as satisfying with impossibly plump, soft and fleshy mussels. Produce is plucked from the fields at Purdy’s, though when escargot graces the menu, it will be imported from France.
Clever cocktails and a handful of old-school favorites (think: Sidecar, Manhattan, Old Fashioned) pair well with the cuisine; and the wine list is almost exclusively French.
Dessert is a no-brainer with light-as-air gooseberry clafoutis or espresso pot de crème, but for a meal-ending must, consider classic chocolate mousse: It’s rich, fluffy, and scooped tableside from a tete de lion (china soup tureen), then causally plopped in a heavenly heap onto a dessert dish. What could be more welcoming, classic, and Old-World French?
185 Summerfield St, Scarsdale; 914.574.6364; bistrodeville.com