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Restaurant Reviews

Finally, New York Gets the French Restaurant It Deserves

At Rebelle on the Bowery, a bunch of Americans run one of the city’s best new restaurants
relates to Finally, New York Gets the French Restaurant It Deserves
Photographer: Zack DeZon/Bloomberg Business

Rebelle, newly opened on the Bowery, has an effortless, new wave, French bistro thing going on that could easily make it blur into all of the other Francophile restaurants currently big on duck a l’orange and ile flottante. Instead, it shines brighter than the lot of them. That’s because the food at Rebelle is fresh and modern, referring to the Parisian bistro without a hint of blurry eyed nostalgia. And when a restaurant refuses to be sentimental, it can get on with more exciting things.

Take the wildly delicious chicken: a slender compression of dark and white meat with crisp, golden skin. To make it, a whole bird has been deboned and roasted, then poached in tarragon-infused butter. It comes with a few potatoes made tender in rendered chicken fat and drippings, a dab of preserved lemon, and a puddle of sauce running through it all, like a fine chicken liqueur. That's it. The flavors are rich but mellow, and—as with perfect Parisian rotisserie—so cozy it’s not always clear where the meat ends and the potatoes begin.