Having grown up in Paris, and later amassing a resume of GM jobs at some of NYC’s top restaurants (Nur, Eleven Madison Park, Happy Cooking Hospitality), Scarsdale’s Jonathan Aubrey had a clear vision of what he wanted his own eatery to be. “A traditional French bistro, with the expected warmth, atmosphere, quality of service, and seasonal ingredients,” he says, “but in a casual fine-dining setting where nothing is compromised.”
Add in Executive Chef Josh Capone, who spent a decade with Daniel Boulud (most recently as chef de cuisine at Restaurant Daniel), an artfully renovated space with a striking coffered ceiling and well-lit custom zinc bar, and it’s plain to see: This first-time restaurant owner accomplished precisely what he set out to do.
Situated aside Scarsdale’s Metro-North tracks and named for the experimental 1930s French train car that ran on Michelin tires, Micheline proffers a distinct bistro vibe with an undeniable air of understated elegance. “It was important to me to have a sense of place,” says Aubrey. “And a French name, of course.”
In Capone’s kitchen, the emphasis is on local, seasonal, quality-driven ingredients. “We work with local purveyors, so local butter, local eggs… the chickens are from 35 miles away,” with other meats as local as possible. “We’re thoughtful about our products and focused on being better for the world,” says Capone, explaining why “we’re not flying stuff in from a thousand miles away;” save the wine which comprises the all-French wine list (by the bottle and glass) and olive oil.
Nearly every item on the succinct menu is scratch-made on premises, right down to the bun that swaddles a house-ground burger with a house-made pickle and hand-cut fries. Petite, lush salads complement appetizers of escargots and moules frites; frog legs will make an appearance when available, as will rabbit. “Josh is an American who knows French food better than a Frenchman,” says Aubrey. His steak au poivre with green-peppercorns sauce may prove to be a staple, and a honking honey-brined pork chop is plenty for two.
Traditional French desserts are a must, from luscious crème brûlée and peach galette with house-made crème fraiche ice cream to a perfectly on-point bittersweet chocolate tart.
“My goal is to be embedded in the community,” says Aubrey, “serving honest, seasonally driven, traditional French food, and embracing guests with warm, genuine hospitality.” Martinis of French gin or vodka — poured tableside — drive that ethos home in spades.
878 Scarsdale Ave, Scarsdale; michelinerestaurant.com