Marvin

 

MARVIN
8114 Beverly Blvd. near N. Crescent Heights Blvd.
323.655.5553


When the urge for solo bar dining hits, I know exactly where to go: Marvin. Although I'm just starting to get a feel for my new city, the chill and lively vibe at this eclectic French bistro has already become my go-to SGD spot. I've been here twice and became friendly with Jesse the bartender and Emilie, their sommelier–not to mention their regular bar diner Lizz who I've run into both times having her #singlegirldinner too!

 The happy hour menu at Marvin is spot-on. It has oysters, two different types of toasts (ratatouille & goat cheese and jamon tomato), steak tartare, mussels, mac n' cheese, a cheeseburger and pommes frites–pretty much everything I'd love to order on any given day! They also have an incredible wine list with over 200 to choose from. 

If you're catching up with a friend for dinner, I highly recommend their rigatoni bolognaise. (It's spelled the French way here.) I've noticed that their pasta is consistently cooked perfectly al dente. This has to be noted because such a simple thing can be such a rarity. Trust me, it's not as heavy or overwhelming as it sounds–their bolognaise sauce is very refined. In fact, if you're super hungry, you may even find that ordering the rigatoni alone isn't enough! I love that they have a a variety of add-on options to boost up your meal with sections on their menu like: Cheese, Charcuterie, Snacks, Salads, Small Plates and Sides. 

Unlike spaghetti, which needs the aid of a spoon to twirl around your fork, you can just poke at the rigatoni and have a free hand to sip your wine in between bits of gossip. 

 

Steak Tartare with Poached Egg & Chips Gaufrette

SEL ET GRAS
31 Seventh Avenue South at the corner of West 10th Street
646.558.5468


One Sunday morning, like a hungry lioness, I awoke with an irrational craving for steak tartare—not exactly a dish you'd typically find on any ol' Sunday brunch menu. But I knew where to go. My boyfriend (now ex) had mentioned a newish French restaurant in the West Village called Sel et Gras just the day before. When I insisted that there were no new restaurants on that particular corner, he described it as a slice of graffiti'ed real estate located behind a kiosk selling African clothing. Lo and behold, there it was.

Their steak tartare was the perfect portion for one: fresh cuts of beef, hand-diced and mixed with sharp Dijon mustard, capers, onions, and other traditional mish-mash. It was plated like a fancy scoop of gelato next to a delicately poached egg. A tiny ceramic crockpot of chips gaufrette (waffle-cut) provided a salty crunch. I was a happy lioness.

The restaurant's manager, Matthieu, a handsome Frenchman, sat on a barstool nearby and chatted with me about food, adoringly and passionately. "The French don't eat brunch, therefore we don't have traditional brunch dishes," he said, "So, to tailor our menu, we just added an egg to everything." Ah. That explains the poached egg.  In that case, looking at the menu again, I'll have to return for the escargots bourguignon... Which comes with a baked egg!

The Wren

THE WREN
44 Bowery Street bet. Great Jones and Bond Street
212.388.0148


There's definitely a bar scene up front at The Wren, but, if you can snag a table in the back, it can be quite quaint and lovely. I love the modern-rustic decor here and they a British pub-inspired menu to match: cheese and charcuterie boards, fish and chips, and a whole array of spreads and goodies served in little jars. My favorites are the chicken liver mousse and the steak tartare, which come with warm toast points on the side. Add a glass of beer or wine to that and I'm happy.