Today, Grub Street pondered whether Our Man had lost his mind, because he reviewed Juliette, a French brasserie in Wiliamsburg rather than a Senegalese hangout uptown or a Ecuadorian cafe in the middle of Queens. People, Sietsema is human just like you and I. He loves a good burger, or a big pile of steamed mussles. And of course, he loves french fries. Especially when there’s some guacamole to dip them in.
While it isn’t unusual for a brasserie to toss a Basque or Italian dish onto its menu in pursuit of ecumenicism, the Mexican influence is unusual. Here’s the explanation: Juliette was spawned by Tartine, a quirky West Village café founded by Bretons that has always depended on Mexican immigrants for its waitstaff and cooks. Tartine’s dish called spicy chicken was something of a tribute to them—a pile of chicken tidbits sided with fries and the best guacamole you’ve ever tasted. Transplanted across the East River, the dish ($16) doesn’t fare quite as well, with the boneless chicken aping a lackluster Chinese stir fry. The oniony guacamole still kicks ass, though, and a crisp french fry dipped in it is one of the summer’s culinary triumphs.
135 North 5th Street
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 23, 2007