Garden dining in MePa

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007 | All Things, Drinks, Eats

At Paradou on Little West 12th Street tonight for dinner with MB.

There was a time — back when I was spending more of my nights in the Meatpacking District — when this little restaurant was one of my semi-regular haunts, both for its small but satisfying Provençal menu and its decidedly warm but not very trendy feel among a sea of increasingly stylish spots. Regular readers know how I feel about the transformation of MePa; last year, urban travel guide Gridskipper recommended a full blockade of the area, and I’m inclined to agree.

All the more reason to believe the sandwich board outside the restaurant: “Wherever you’re going it won’t be as good.”


Which is not to say that Paradou hasn’t changed also from its neighborhood pioneer roots. The menu has expanded over the years to include full entrees — I have particularly fond memories of times spent over their cassoulet — and the expansive back garden, once a bare back lot with tables, has been gussied up with actual wood flooring, foliage and a white canvas tent so that the space can be heated and enjoyed year-round. The pastic sheeting “windows” face into the lit garden of the establishment next door, which once operated with no official name, but has since been rechristened as Revel.

In a nod to menus past, we kept things light tonight. I ordered the salmon tartare, mixed with pumpkin seed oil and paprika oil, topped with a lemon-chive mousseline, and served with slices of Haas avocado and red onion, and a balsamic reduction. Very good. And because we learned our lesson from the last time, we each reserved ample room for a plate of dessert crêpes: nutella & banana for her, dark chocolate & candied orange for me.



How very dainty. Well, maybe not so: as the talk turned to the impending holidays, we noticed a chalkboard touting the restaurant’s “Dirty Bingo” night (December 11 — sorry). Numbers were to be called out by drag performer Epiphany from Screaming Queens, with adult-themed prizes provided by Kiki de Montparnasse and Babeland, the latter of which (if you’re not already familiar) you’ll just have to Google for yourself.

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