Café Deux Delights With French-American Fare in Harrison

Photo Courtesy of Café Deux

The soft glow from Edison bulbs above the bar set a warm, welcoming vibe at Café Deux, a French/New American restaurant opened by sibs Carrie and Charlotte Denoyer, whose father owns a trio of NYC restaurants.

Sisters Carrie and Charlotte Denoyer explored other career paths, including teaching, but it came back to restaurants, opening 30-seat traditional French/New American Café Deux in early spring. It’s not surprising as they grew up in the industry; their father, Jean Denoyer, has been in the restaurant business for 50-plus years, currently owning NYC spots Bar Italia, Orsay, and La Goulue. The siblings’ first jobs were as hostesses at L’escale in Greenwich, at which Jean had been a partner.“

He didn’t want us to choose the food industry just because he was in it,” says Carrie. “And when we did decide we wanted to be in it and open a restaurant, he didn’t give us too much advice because he wanted it to be our place and not his.”

The Café Deux barstools are from La Goulue, which is the first restaurant the sisters’ father opened 51 years ago.
The Café Deux barstools are from La Goulue, which is the first restaurant the sisters’ father opened 51 years ago. Courtesy of Café Deux.

The sisters say they were glad for teaching jobs they had (their father had encouraged them to explore non-food-industry career paths) as certain skills have come into play now owning a restaurant.

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“The attention to detail, anticipating students’ needs,” says Carrie, “those are things that directly apply to running a restaurant; just substitute customers for students.”

The menu is “dishes we’ve fallen in love through-out our lives,” says Charlotte.

There are breakfast items all day (house-made pastries, soft-scrambled eggs with Gruyère, a Dutch baby pancake with French butter, Australian style-coffee… “a creamy blend perfect for cappuccino,” says Charlotte), a fabulous double-patty Wagyu burger, tuna sashimi noodles, and crustless quiches. The short dinner menu includes Faroe Island salmon, green coconut curry, and steak frites.

A simple sandwich consisting of Rosette de Lyon (a cured French salami), Echiré butter, and cornichons on baguette, is sublime
A simple sandwich consisting of Rosette de Lyon (a cured French salami), Echiré butter, and cornichons on baguette, is sublime. Photo by John Bruno Turiano.

Leading the kitchen is Alex Aparicio, who previously worked as a Hamptons private chef as well as at the openings of Goosefeather in Tarrytown, Village Social in Mount Kisco, and Pubstreet in Pleasantville; executive pastry chef and chocolatier is Jessica Craig, who worked at Lilia in Brooklyn.

The dessert offerings include eight to 10 rotating flavors from more than 20 flavored chocolate cups (e.g., peanut butter, wild blueberry, milk chocolate espresso) via Cupped Desserts, the direct-to-consumer/e-business the sisters started in 2017.

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An army of chocolate cups on display.
An army of chocolate cups on display. Courtesy of John Bruno Turiano

The beverage program includes a majority French and American wine list (bottles are mostly $50 to $120), creative cocktails sweetened with in-house syrups, agave, and honey, and kombucha on tap. Look for the thoughtful line of nonalcoholic cocktails.

Despite the challenges of opening a restaurant, the sisters say there was no hesitation.

“We’ve been on a rollercoaster our whole lives because our family is in the business,” says Charlotte. “There’s some anxiety but mostly excitement.”

307 Halstead Ave, Harrison; 914.920.4110; cafedeuxny.com

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