Jacques Brasserie | 204 East 85th St. (bet. 2nd & 3rd Aves.) | 212.327.2272 | www.jacquesnyc.com

TWO OF MY longest best friends—one, Jeanette, the other, Dieter—make a more than weekly habit of eating at a place I pass by almost every day. They don't go together; although they have happened to cross paths there on several occasions. They have have both, individually, invited me to join them, for food and/or cocktails, and the main reason why I haven't is because I am usually going to bed around the time they want me to meet them.

A shame, really, since they were both, individually, two of the closest, most important friends I've ever had, and, with both of them insisting on not being on Facebook, one of the only ways I can interact and catch up with them is to do so—gasp!—in person.

Well, I didn't get to se them today either. (During the day, Dieter usually manages the Heidelberg restaurant a block away, and Jeanette tends to her beautiful children.) But after an actual Facebook friend reminded me that today was National Oyster Day, I thought where I could go and enjoy some raw oysters (having already enjoyed some at Flex Mussels), and the only other place that came to mind was the place where I've walked by almost every day for over twenty years but never entered. The place where, not one, but, two of my very best friends have invited me to join them, though I yet have. A place I would finally try—unfortunately, without them—for oysters on National Oyster Day: a quaint, warm, bistro-esque French brasserie called Jacques, on East 85th.

I came for the oysters, but after looking at the menu, decided I wanted to also go "full French" by ordering the terrine de campagne with pork and rabbit and wrapped in bacon (I usually associate terrines as having layers; this appeared more like a coarser paté), and the croque monsieur as well, the latter two items part of an $18.95 lunch special.

But first, the oysters. They come six to an order, but the kindly obliged—knowing a had a lot more food ahead of me—when I requested only three. Blue Points....

Supple, full-bodied, clean, salty and creamy at the same time, a great way to celebrate its eponymous day.

Next up, the house-made terrine of pork and rabbit, which came with frisée and three different mustards of grain, Dijon, and cranberry(!).

Not remembering the last terrine I've had, I have nothing to compare it to. So, on it's own merit, I found this to be quite nice. I loved the texture of the finely chopped proteins in this terrine, mildly spiced to compliment the pork and moderate any gaminess in the rabbit, and wrapped in bacon for extra flavor. The mustards provided any amount of kick I needed, the cranberry being extra pleasant, adding a nice layer of flavor, as fruits do, to the game meat.

Finally the croque monsieur—which Oliver, my very nice waiter and bartender, informed me gets prepped first thing in the morning—which came out nice and hot, with a healthy side of pomme frites, which I wasn't expecting.

The early prep help some of the batter used for croque monsieur seep into the thick slices of bread, keeping the whole of it moist enough to slice into and eat without recurring beverage sips. The gruyére is both sharp and mild, and melting two ways—inside and on top—highlighted those properties one way then the other. The inherent heat also made the ham's fat impart its unique charm, and became easily more pliable under my knife and with each bite.

The pomme frites (which I could tell would be perfect for their many varieties of moules, or mussels) were perfectly crispy and light when they were piping hot, becoming heftier once they cooled, as fries do, eventually so much so that they bested me before I could finish them. (Much like the crinkle cuts did the day before at Shake Shack.)

I don't know how much longer I'm going to live in this neighborhood, but I'm glad I took advantage of trying it out, at least once, before I ever leave. This could very well be one of the very last PHUDE-nyc posts by me, for a long while, but I'm likewise glad I took full advantage of doing this site/food blog, before I no longer could.

As I leave, I look at the other tables and seats—at this time, mostly empty—where my very good friends have sat many a night without me, reminding that I should take better advantage of there friendships. Before I no longer could.

Bun Apple Tea!


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Jacques Brasserie | 204 East 85th St. (bet. 2nd & 3rd Aves.) | 212.327.2272 | www.jacquesnyc.com