If someone were to force me to decide what my favorite type of food was, I’d have to say French. Fortunately New York is not lacking in that genre of good eats, but unfortunately they’re not always the most wallet-friendly. I love splurging on a nice restaurant every once in a while, but my family instilled a great sense of thriftiness in me when it comes to food. Luckily my two favorite French restaurants have options to splurge a little, or take it down a notch but still have a nice meal.
First, a restaurant I covered in Truant’s debut issue – but is totally worth mentioning again – is Zucco. It’s impossibly tiny, but don’t let it’s size fool you: this French diner has some of the best food I’ve had in the LES. You can go simple and cheap with sandwiches on baguettes (the Le Poulet de Belleville: chicken, goat cheese, and ratatouille is perfection) or try something fancier like the mouth-watering salmon, and don’t forget a little glass of wine from their all-French list. The very French owner, Zucco, adds to the charm of this adorable diner so sit at the bar if you can to witness his one-man show waiter skills and serious charm.
188 Orchard St
Moto is easy to miss. Hidden underneath the J train, dark windows and a black door with the name written small, you could walk by it a million times and not notice it. But once you open the door you’re transported to world so different than what’s outside on Broadway, on the south side of Williamsburg. Not quite as small as Zucco, but still not the largest space, the decor is rustic and ancient. I’ve never had a bad meal here. The ribs, mac & cheese, risotto, and best of all – the paninis – are amazing. If you’re on a budget, go for the paninis. If you’re waistline isn’t on a budget, try the mashed potatoes and finish your meal with the grilled donuts. You will die happy.