Story about Bar Tabac: years ago, I had plans to go to this restaurant’s Bastille Day fête – they do it up and all the French ex-pats go. But one thing led to another and I’m pretty sure my friends and I decided we were too hungover to go to Brooklyn and I simply never made it to the restaurant, Bastille Day or no. Finally I was in the neighborhood and strolling for a Covid-safe outdoor spot (I like it to be open the igloos and fully enclosed huts freak me out and seem like they would just trap the germs) with good heaters. I noticed the setup before noticing the restaurant’s name and once I realized I was looking at Bar Tabac, I was fully sold.
Gaines ordered a burger, my beau made an omelette, and I got a crôque monsieur with a side of merguez. I didn’t try anyone else’s food, but all plates were cleaned so I trust they enjoyed. I absolutely loved my meal. A crôque monsieur is that ultra decadent cheesy, bechamel-dripping, open-faced ham sandwich. It’s divine. When it arrived perfectly browned at the top, I could tell it had the perfect proportions of toast to ham to sauce to cheese. And the fries! They were perfect.
I understand why the actual Frenchies like this spot. It’s casual but jolly – the kind of place you feel at home splitting a bottle of wine with a date or just leisurely eating with friends. And the food is legit. Not everyone can master a crôque monsieur but this place did. Whether it’s this summer or next, I’m on a mission to attend the Bastille Day celebration here. I got a taste of the French life and now I need more.