46 W. 22nd St., nr. Sixth Ave.; 212-206-0555
“Bouillabaisse is from Marseille, but soupe de poisson belongs to Nice,” says Alain Allegretti, who would know. The Niçois chef cooked around the Côte d’Azur before decamping for New York, where he has established a beachhead for his native brand of coastal cooking. “I have the famous Mediterranean poissons des roches flown in especially,” he says, revealing the secret to the success of his deep-amber-hued soup, the thing responsible for its authentic aroma, texture, and rich flavor. The gastronomic ritual starts once the soup arrives: The traditional dried croutons, rubbed with oil and garlic and anointed with the garlic-and-saffron mayo called rouille, are placed in the soup, then finely grated Gruyère cheese is sprinkled over the top. “I make two versions of rouille, the authentic garlicky version and one mild,” says the chef. “So many diners found the garlic too strong.”
From the 2009 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine
So what exactly does “best” mean in a city with thousands of pizza joints, hundreds of celebrity masseuses, and museum-worthy concept shops on every corner? Well, in the case of this, our annual “Best of New York” roundup, there’s a heavy emphasis on what’s new or what has somehow remained virtually unheard of (until now, of course).