For as long as I’ve known him, my friend Robert has been pledging his allegiance to Capsouto Freres. Living just across the street, Robert has made Capsouto his home, a home kitchen of sorts with a meal there at least once, if not twice a week.
But it wasn’t until last week that I finally joined him for a meal, when, after a long day celebrating Memorial Day at outdoor bbqs around lower Manhattan we needed a real meal. After almost a year of hearing about how I had to dine with him at Capsouto, we headed to Tribeca.
Not many restaurants in NYC, especially in Tribeca, can lay claim to being open for decades but Capsouto has been serving up classic French bistro fare since 1980. With the sun setting fast, we dined outside on their terrace to catch a glimpse of the spectacle over the Hudson River. From the moment I hit my seat, our every need was catered to. I didn’t feel like I was in NYC, the ambiance and service made me feel like I was taking part in a beautiful French movie scene as I sipped my Pellegrino and people watched perched just above the street. The building Capsouto is housed in, only adds to its charm….you just don’t see buildings like this anymore.
The decor is romantic, but unfussy, dare I say it is one of the most romantic old world spaces in the city? Some diners were wearing suits and ties, and some (like me) were wearing jeans and a t-shirt. But onto the food….
Our leisurely meal began with complimentary Pate de Canard on toast points which was much better than the bread baskets I always shoo away at the beginning of a meal. When ordering, there was only one thing I knew I had to get… a souffle. Named the best in the city for numerous years, Capsouto offers both sweet and savory options. So while ordering I made sure to not over order as I was told the souffles were on the large side.
With the season so short, I ordered the soft shell crab special accompanied by mashed potatoes and a corn succotash. Robert went with his staple, the grilled tuna with black olive and tomato vinaigrette and I was promised a few bites. Generous portions, the food was simple and oh so flavorful. Good thing I saved room for dessert because their souffle (we ordered the chocolate) was by far the best souffle I have ever had in my life and I’ve had a souffle at Joel Robuchon. It was also the size of a basketball…for only $9.50!!!! I don’t think I have ever seen a souffle priced at lower than $12 in any French bistro and barely the size of your palm! Capsouto’s is a steal!
This hidden gem, tucked away in the far reaches of Tribeca, is a perfect spot for romantic dates, celebrations, or just because you want a great meal. I may have only dined at Capsouto Freres once, but it’s become an instant classic in my mind.
451 Washington Street (at Watts Street)