Le Pain Quotidien
124 Seventh Avenue
between 17th & 18th streets
Other Locations: (Various)
Web Site: http://www.lepainquotidien.com/
Two weeks ago I was in the city during the evening for the PEPCOM Holiday Spectacular press event, which was held at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea, on 17th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues. I was hungry, and I knew that the show was going to be busy and serving lots of fried and carby appetizer-type crap I probably shouldn’t be eating. I also knew that I would be racing around like a lunatic taking photos and talking to PR people for two hours, so I should probably eat something before going in there.
Anyone who is familiar with the Chelsea neighborhood near the Metropolitan Pavilion will probably tell you its slim pickins in terms of good food choices. So I walked down to 7th avenue, looked around, and noticed this particular branch of Le Pain Quotidien. I’m not usually one to visit bakery type cafe restaurants these days — since I’m limiting my bread and carb intake, and there’s usually too much temptation to eat something I shouldn’t. But I was literally starving and it was better I ate there than eat what was likely awaiting me at the Pavilion, along with an open bar.
I had never been to a Le Pain Quotidien before, but I was hungry and intrigued, so I went in and had a look.
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The bread at this chain is surprisingly very good and of the healthier variety, and is dense and makes use of whole grains.
I really liked the atmosphere here, it was made to resemble a rustic French farmhouse. That it was 5PM on a Thursday and the place was gearing up for its dinner service and still quiet was all the better, because I was about to have my share of cacophony and lots of bustling about in about an hour.
The all wood and unfinished tables are a nice touch, along with the rustic flooring.
What’s this, healthy choices at a bakery restaurant? Maybe I wont have to eat anything too bad.
I plopped myself down at one of the big communal tables.
I know that in New York that tap is perfectly acceptable as a beverage choice, but I like the fizzy stuff.
My first course was a cold Gazpatcho soup, which I deemed to be excellent. I’ve been to various parts of Spain and I can tell you that it tasted pretty authentic — its defnitely made of fresh tomatoes, cucumber, bell peppers, and lots of garlic, with good olive oil in it and some bread crusts blended in, as a good Gazpatcho should be. This was served with Quotidien’s whole wheat Baguette Ancienne.
I also ordered a nice seaweed and cucumber salad, which came with a sesame/soya dressing.
I especially enjoyed this Roasted Red Quinoa salad with Enoki Mushrooms. This was a great hearty and fortifying dish with lots of protein in it.
Le Pain Quotidien has all the “bad” stuff too, if you’re incllined to go in that direction.