French gastronomy is synonymous with romance, and for good reason. The rich mouthfeel of French wine, decadent sauces that delight the palate and perfectly cooked meats at a long, lazy meal make for the perfect date night. Whether you prefer sitting with your partner at the bar in a bistro, cozying up in dark corner or basking in the warm light at cheerful table in an old converted garage, there are numerous French restaurants tucked within the borders of the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Bed-Stuy and Bushwick that suit a variety of romantic moods and budgets. Below are a few of the French restaurants that are known for consistently offering lovely food, service and ambiance in their prospective neighborhoods. Bon Appétit!
Classic French Dining
L’Antagoniste, 238 Malcolm X Boulevard, Bed-Stuy, (917) 966-5300
Walk through the curtained entrance into the dimly lit L’Antagoniste for an unassuming yet near-perfect romantic farm-to-table French experience in the heart of Bed-Stuy. Iconic dishes such as duck à l’orange, pâté en croûte and fois gras confit hold their own among more innovative items such as escargot de Bourgogne with saffron-cardamom butter and pig feet ragout and holiday specialties such as wild boar shoulder with red wine stew. An entrée will set you back between $20 to $30 per plate, while the wine list carries lovely everyday bottles in the $35 to $45 range, as well as pricier treasures for truly special occasions.
Standard Bistro Fare
Mominette, 221 Knickerbocker Avenue, Bushwick, (929) 234-2941
Mominette is a small, dark French bistro and oyster bar in Bushwick: think glowing yellow light and old Parisian newspapers. A $1 oyster happy hour between 5 and 7 p.m. and stellar drinks make for a boozy date at the bar, although sit-down service is also lovely. Try the mussels Basquaises, with spicy lamb sausage, leeks and a creamy mustard sauce, or the steak-frites. On a cold winter’s night, the beef Bourguignon warms the belly, and no matter the weather, a delightful cocktail called Le Mominette, with Lillet Rouge, Absinthe, grapefruit juice, orange bitters and just a touch of honey also warms the heart.
Casual Café Flair
Chez Oskar, 310 Malcolm X Boulevard, Bed-Stuy, (718) 852-6250
The burger isn’t known for being a mainstay of French cuisine, but one bite of the “famous” lamb burger at Chez Oskar might turn this idea on its head. Spicy and topped with chèvre, the burger comes with hand-cut fries and a small salad. All-you-can eat mussels ($17.00) on Tuesday nights—which arrive to the table steaming in heaping pots of classic marinière, moutard or Thai coconut curry broth—make regular visits to Chez Oskar feel romantic even if your date is a good novel. Oh, and take note: The restaurant offers 30 percent off bottles of wine with dinner on “Wine Lover’s Wednesdays.”
Charming Mom and Daughter-Managed Go-To
Le Garage, 157 Suydam St., (347) 295-1700
Opened in 2015 by Catherine and Rachel Allswang, a mother and daughter duo with Norman roots, classics such as chicken for two with sunchoke and potato purée and a pork shoulder braised in milk are perfectly executed and the whitewashed brick and warm wooded interior of a converted garage offer a charming alternative to the other French options that pepper Brooklyn. Make sure to try the Coco Chanel, an utterly romantic cocktail with lavender-infused St. Germain, sparkling wine and gin.