When the going gets tough, the tough gets…wine. Or maybe that's just how I do things. In the midst of a rather hectic week, I found some time to stop by my old stomping ground (Midtown East) and try out Pierre Loti, the newest location of this French-inspired wine bar.
The space where Pierre Loti resides is rather small, but it's bi-level and overlooks a nice tree-lined block on 52nd street. Not just one of my favorite Billy Joel albums, but I also used to live on this block, so I'm familiar with the spot – it used to be Barros Luco, the Chilean sandwich shop. I was definitely sad to see them go, but hopefully Pierre Loti will have more staying power. Perhaps their vast selection of wines will help. I had a glass of pinot grigio and a glass of sauvignon blanc; both were good, but the fruity pinot grigio paired better with our food.
I wasn't blown away by the food, but they had some nice dishes that were different enough to keep me going back for more. The salads were nicely done, albeit a little heavy on the parsley, but that should be an easy fix. There was a chopped salad with greek yogurt and a frisee with halloumi cheese salad. Halloumi is a Cyprian cheese that has a firm texture (similar to tofu) and can be grilled or pan fried without melting. So this salad has thick warm strips of halloumi on top of frisee and mandarin orange segments. Yum. There was also a nice fluke fish salad with mangoes and tomatoes that was similar to a ceviche – nice and light with a sweet acidity.
The dumpling pasta stuffed with goat in a feta cream sauce was tasty, but too heavy for summer and after a while the flavor became too rich. If you're craving something starch-like at Pierre Loti, get the squash and zucchini pancakes. Similar to a potato pancake, but made with vegetables so it's a bit lighter and crisper.
As if they heard me talking about "lighter" dishes, for dessert we had a refreshing lemon sorbet covered in pineapple sheets and drizzled with strawberry sauce. This is going to sound incredibly stupid but it was too cold. I got a little brain freeze from it. It was a good summer dessert, but you know me…I would have preferred something with chocolate.
Pierre Loti gets points for wine selection, but they need to step up the food and add a few generic dishes or happy hour specials if they want to compete in this bustling area of Irish bars serving wings and chili cheese fries for $1. The B & T crowd is ample in this neighborhood, and I doubt they eat goat or tongue very often. Just sayin…