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80 Good

The pint-sized French bistro is once again run by a chef with oversized ambition.

185 Sullivan St., New York, NY, 10012



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The lowdown

Mimi opened, without much fuss in late 2015, like a blast from Manhattan’s past: When an inconspicuous and very small bistro serving charming, surprisingly ambitious food could open downtown. Part of the appeal is that it was easily missable on its residential, charming stretch of Sullivan Street, yet after strolling in, thinking it was just another bar, you’d be delightfully shocked by the food. The original, very talented chef departed not long after turning restaurant into a pint-size destination that made Francophiles weepy, and for a while after Mimi’s was more of a chic local bar for Negronis and French chardonnay. Now the cooking has been reinvigorated, thanks to the appointment of a third chef who has laced the restaurant’s baroque French sensibility with influences from Japan and elsewhere. On the menu (which changes regularly) there could be veal brains lightly battered in tempura and served with mushroom dashi, or scallop crudo with brown butter ponzu and spicy umeboshi. Other dishes are thoroughly French. A winter-time, warming grilled octopus cassoulet is spruced up with turnip mustard; a fat pork crepinette rests on a bed of farro; and a boudin noir comes out looking like a very dark slice of meatloaf. While there are just two options for dessert, the chef has found plenty of room for creativity making his baba not au rum but au Calvados, the French apple brandy.

Chris Crowley

What you need to know

Recommended DishesMaine uni, pork crepinette, octopus cassoulet.

DrinksFull Bar

Noise LevelCivilized