Le Club 55

Plage de Pampelonne 83350 RamatuelleFR • +33 4 94 55 55 55 • club55.fr

There is an old French saying that roughly translates to mean, “may this misery never leave us,” which is as sarcastic as it is perfect for describing what it was like to sail to Saint Tropez for the day and dine on the beach at Le Club 55. Yes, I live an extremely charmed life and I work very hard to keep that in perspective. So I tell you this not as a “look at me,” but rather as strong nudge to YOU, because if you should ever find yourself in the South of France, you owe this to yourself. Yes, it’s a bit of commitment (two hours from Cannes each way), but sacre bleu is it worth it!

Strung together like a bunch of Gilligan’s Island-esque straw huts, this place continues to grow and sprawl across the sand like the Zabar’s of the Cote d’Azur. And also like Zabar’s, it is as far from fancy as it is from Cannes. This is toes in the sand and swim suit on butt couture.

But don’t let the casual façade fool you, because getting a table is serious business, and so is the food. For example, their crudité bests some of the finest restaurants in the world, including Blue Hill at Stone Barns and Bohemian in NYC. Served on a bountiful wooden board (pictured) and loaded with farm-grown fireworks in the form of vegetables. The tomatoes speak for themselves, needing no salt, nor sauce. The radishes bite back. And the red pepper tastes like a conversation you simply can’t get enough of. Oui, it is an Ultimate of ultimate proportions.

Two other stellar dishes are the beef tartar served with crack-tastic chips and the bone-simple, equally magnificent, perfectly cooked whole fish. And that seems to be the name of the game here. Keep it simple, because when they strayed and tried to get a little too fancy they missed.

For example their salad with shaved parmesan and black truffles didn’t hold up to the rest. I’m guessing because the truffles weren’t real. Blasphemy to say, but they were virtually flavorless next to the crudité, which makes zero sense. And the other concoction getting trickier still, would be the odd variation on a caprese salad, made with tomatoes, goat cheese, hollandaise and mint. It wasn’t awful, but after having seen the tomato as a solo act, this seemed like a crime to drown it with such an odd combination of flavors.

On the simpler side of things I did also find a miss, ruined with a very simple error. The langoustines were very (and sadly) overcooked. But misses aside, Le Club 55 is a triumph, as if anybody needed another reason to love the beach.

Little Kebab Station

31 E Main St. Mount Kisco, NY 10549 • (914) 242-7000http://littlekababstation.com

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This place is like the Indian, Westchester version of Zabar’s. It started out as this tiny little four table restaurant and has since expanded into a spice market and now a creperie. But this review is primarily only for the Indian restaurant, which in my opinion serves up the best Indian in Westchester.

The decor, while expanded, still feels small and intimate, the prices are very reasonable and the service is so nice you’ll think they are smoking the saffron. But most importantly back to the food. It is so good, I can only think of one place in NYC that I think is significantly better- Tamarind, which is my favorite Indian in the entire country, if not the world. So, that’s pretty high praise. I’ve even been to India, and this rivals many of the meals I had in Mumbai.

From the various times I’ve been there we’ve ordered all of the usual suspects: Chicken Tikka Masala (ask for spicy), Veggie Paneer, Lamb Vindaloo, Chicken Korma, Saag Paneer, the chickpea dish (forget it’s name) garlic nan, raita and chutney.

Everything is always so fresh you can taste the individual spices popping out of the dish. Unlike at so many other places where it all gets overwhelmed by the curry so much so that you can’t even tell apart the chicken dishes from the lamb.

So happy we have a place like this around the corner.

4 teeth