Does cod fish over lemon mashed potatoes sound romantic? Works for me. It’s just one example of a no-nonsense dish made special by attention to detail at the Upper East Side favorite Le Charlot’s new Southampton location. No doubt the red banquettes, white tablecloths and mood lighting will work for you.
Since opening in November, Le Charlot has quickly become a go-to spot for locals, especially since it started offering its lunch ($25) and dinner ($35) prix fixes. Le Charlot is sure to be a whopping success this summer when it unveils its outdoor area and offers three meals a day. Owner Thierry Gelormini promises that his Eggs Benedict is “out of this world!” This new East End outpost will then boast more than twice as many seats as its New York City flagship.
Located in the former Barrister’s spot, next to fellow high-end eatery Sant Ambroeus, Le Charlot is hitting all the right marks. It now occupies a bright but romantically decorated space. Its pared-down menu will expand in April when a second full-time chef joins the staff and when Gelormini launches Le Charlot’s new website. The current chef is from Brittany; the additional chef is from Provence. But Gelormini says that diners should expect many Asian inflections, as well as a lobster roll, crab cakes and risottos.
Gelormini himself says, “I’m Mediterranean!” as his father was from Corsica and his mother from Provence. He says that “being close to the water” is what brought him out here. Gelormini has lived in Montauk and Sag Harbor—he understands the clientele here, as well as Le Charlot’s regulars who visit from the city.
Gelormini is in the process of adding Long Island’s finest wines to Le Charlot’s list. These will likely include Wölffer Estate Vineyard rosés and whites as well as some North Fork Chardonnays. I respect that Gelormini is not rushing things. Paris was not built in a day, after all. He began working on his Southampton project in February of 2014—so raise a glass to him when dining there this month!
My husband and I were quite pleased with Le Charlot’s current offerings. Husband’s first comment was, “I haven’t had bread like this since I was in France!” The poor dear. We got a proper start with drinks—a Tanqueray martini for him and a glass of house white for moi. He found his martini “very nicely cold” and my wine had what I call a “killer nose.” I downed it and focused on the sizeable portions of food. All was traditional, piping hot and delicious: Soupe a l’Oignon & Fromage (French Onion Soup complete with that bit of bread under the cheese), a smooth potato Soupe du Jour, Classic Steak au Poivre and Frites cooked to order, the aforementioned pile of tenderness, the cod, served with a chorizo sauce for a nice kick. For dessert we enjoyed sharing a Crème Brûlée with a very light crust.
I think we’ll do dinner again there soon and try their scallops from Cor-J Seafood or perhaps the Tuna Tartare with wasabi and avocado.
I don’t think you can go wrong at Le Charlot if you’re looking for a romantic evening out featuring peppy French servers and a relatively quiet atmosphere. But if you need to “seal the deal,” just ask Gelormini to tell you and your date about the origin of Tarte Tatin. Much like his restaurant, his tarte tatin origin story is as charming as it is French. Bon appetit!
Le Charlot Bistronomie is open Thursdays for dinner at 4:30 p.m. Open Fridays at noon for lunch and dinner. Saturday and Sunday brunch 11:30 a.m. and dinner. Open continuously. 36 Main Street, Southampton, 631-353-3222.