558 Broome Street
New York, NY 10013
Written & Photographed by Jennifer Baker
Food & Service: La Sirene was one of the first restaurants from Chef Didier Pawlicki in New York City that reflects his signature and refined style of testing new ways to bring authentically Southern French cuisine, and other
Mediterranean flavors, to the edge of SoHo. When listening to Didier describe the preparation of menu items like cassoulet, you can almost taste his methodical process of adding fat to texture his dishes. La Sirene is small in size, seating a little more than two dozen, precise in menu, and impeccable in regards to the staff who are ready to make sure your glass is always half full (not half empty).
The setting is wooden chairs, high ceilings, shaded lamps and tiled mosaics on muted-toned walls, establishing a modern setting complete with French scores like Amélie soundtrack or legendary songstress Édith Piaf playing in the background.
The starters reflect the French dining experience, and one of the standouts is the Foie Gras Au Torchon, served with toasted baguette and homemade apple sauce, that is like butter melting on the tongue. The creaminess and salt of this duck liver would make a convert out of anyone hesitant to try. The Steak Tartare may look like tuna fish spread, but the fresh onions, peppers, and hints of citrus for acidity each have their moment to shine when spreading it on toasted bread. Where the Foie Gras and Tartare were rich and hearty, the Sepios Sautés (Octopus Salad) was herbal, taking on the Mediterranean style that tends to go for the more rustic, and not reliant so much on butter and fat, but instead on the true taste of the main components of the dish. Flavors include garlic, parsley, olive oil, and tomatoes, and all shine through creating culinary harmony.
A wide array of meats is offered as entrées, all succulent and thick. The Seared Rohan Duck Breast cooked medium well is nothing short of true perfection, Parisian or otherwise. The cherry sauce is syrupy with the sweetness of cherries and the juiciness of the duck. The Filet Mignon topped with Foie Gras and a Port and Wine Truffles Sauce is phenomenal and exposes the additional richness of the wine, subtly similar to the red wine sauce of coq au vin, with the red meat. For a reprieve from the sauces, the Rack of Lamb with White Wine,
Rosemary, and Truffle Jus lightens the load, allowing the natural juices of the meat to emphasize and compliment the heart of the entrée. Triangles of polenta along with the four vegetable mini platter consisting of pureed carrots, haricots verts, chayote [a gourd more familiar to South America], and butternut squash, range from tangy to savory.
All desserts are made 1-2 days in advance, onsite to ensure freshness. The Choux Chantilly (Chantilly Lace) is all the lightness of a profiterole with homemade whipped cream and powdered sugar. The Profiteroles feature homemade vanilla ice cream and a decadent semi-sweet chocolate sauce slathered on top with a dollop of whipped cream. The Fondant Au Chocolate Noir is yet another standout with rich
chocolate oozing out of a perfectly crispy exterior of the semi-sweet chocolate cake. If you haven’t been filled by the entirety of this meal then these desserts will certainly end it on an equally high note.
Didier Pawlicki once again puts every effort and desire into his dishes, most originating from family recipes. When you taste the food at La
Sirene, you are not only taken to another continent… you are welcomed into his home where food is one of the best ways to treat customers as family.
New Yorker, Jennifer Baker has been writing since she entered the academic institution and continues to do so every moment she gets. Jennifer has a particular love for desserts (both eating and baking them) and while partaking in some of the sugary treats NYC has to offer, she has interviewed local bakeries such as Ivy Bakery, First Prize Pies, Hot Blondies, and Zugar Haus. Jennifer regularly posts about writing, books, baking, and food events in addition to reviews and hosting giveaways on her website: jennifernbaker.com. You can also follow Jennifer on Twitter at @jbakernyc and check out her site at www.jennifernbaker.com