When NoLiTa hotspot, Pulino’s, closed just shy of a year ago, us local NoHo/NoLiTa folks were thrown for a loop. Located on the corner of Bowery and Houston, the restaurant had prime real estate, good food, and a great scene. Thankfully, popular restaurateur, Keith McNally, decided to do a complete overhaul of the space and reopen as Cherche Midi, a French Bistro. I finally made it to the restaurant this week, and I am happy to say McNally did an awesome job. Once inside, you feel as though you are in France at a classic bistro, and everything from the trendy ambiance to extensive menu full of awesome cocktails and entrees prepares you for a wonderful dining experience…
French cuisine can sometimes be difficult for a gluten free person, as the French take pride in their delicious breads and pastries. Thankfully, the menu at Cherche is nobread friendly! Gluten is typically only added to dishes in the form of a crostini or croutons, so most dishes can easily be made gluten free by asking for nobread. To start, I highly recommend the green market lettuces, kale salad, or pot de fromage nobuttertoast. For my main course, I went with the Cherche omelette with sautéed mushrooms and leeks. This omelette is also served with cheese, and when I mentioned to the waitress that I am dairy free, too, she informed me the mushrooms and leeks are sautéed in butter prior to being added to the omelette. The mushrooms can be prepared dairy free; however, the leeks cannot, so my omelette just contained roasted mushrooms. Don’t worry- it was still great! Other nobread approved orders at my table included the salad nicoise and chicken paillard. Both of these entrees are nobread approved and looked amazing. I’ve heard great things about the pan-seared salmon, and of course, the famous Cherche steak, and I am eyeing those for my next visit. Lastly, the pommes frites are very popular at Cherche, but they subject to cross contamination in the fryer so I sat those out. For dessert, as much as I would have loved a macaron, the macarons at Cherche are NOT nobread approved. Bummer, but perhaps a blessing in disguise… I don’t think I’ve ever had just ONE macaron in a sitting.
The lunch scene at Cherche was tame, but with a cocktail list so delicious and one of the coolest looking bars in New York City, I can only imagine what the evening dinner and drinks scene is like. I’m also dying to come back for brunch. Lobster scrambled eggs notoast, skillet eggs, and sweet potato hash?! Sign me up!