Between Soho and Little Italy, there is a place where France and the United States cross paths, exactly where Lafayette and Grand Street intersect (fitting, no?). Welcome to Troquet, a new restaurant inspired by the restaurants and cafes of Paris.
Its founders, Clément Mery and Thomas Olmedo, two childhood friends, came to New York about 9 and 10 years ago, respectively. “We’re both in love with New York, and we had the chance to come a few times here on vacation,” explains Olmedo, who launched atransportation company in France before opening Le Troquet. “We’d wanted to do a project together for a long time. For me, it was a childhood dream,” adds Mery, who works in textiles in Asia. “I love the energy here [in NYC], the dynamism and this feeling that everything is possible.”
The last person to bring on was Camille Martin, the chef at Le Troquet. “[Mery] was a regular client and we became friends,” explains Martin, who was previously a chef at one of the restaurants of the famous twin French chefs, the Purcel brothers, in Colombo, Sri Lanka before she came on to be the chef at Le Troquet in New York. “He asked if I would join their adventure, and here I am in New York.”
The restaurant moved in to replace Parigot, an establishment well known by French expats in New York for a long time. The new owners changed the decoration, installing most notably floral wallpaper on one of the walls, but preserving the intimate atmosphere that faithful Parigot loyalists loved so much.
As for the menu, the trio of restaurateurs decided to offer French cuisine adapted for American palates. For example, you’ll find the infamous apéro platters, that no one does quite so well as the French, listed above foie gras, shepherd’s pie, a burger, and several other Italy-inspired dishes. ”Everything on our menu is made in-house,” explained Olmedo. The wine list includes nearly 120 different bottles, of which a portion come from Europe, and more particularly, France.