making the case for french canadien cuisine, with a distinctly british influence, in Greenpoint.
now don’t you dare read that and start thinking about poutine. don’t go there, don’t do it. let’s all deliberately and culinarily reset our understanding of French Canadian cuisine, and I’ll tell you where to do it.
chez ma tante, greenpoint’s new hotness, will help stretch your understanding and cleanse your palate of what you understood as “french-canadien”.
the name itself serves as an alibi. literally translating to “my aunt’s house” it’s the flat response you give when someone asks you where you were, where you’ve been, and perhaps what you’ve been doing at a place that perhaps you don’t wish to divulge. “chez ma tante” you say with a smirk. “i was at my aunt’s house,” and trust me, once you try their food, it’s a little secret you just might want to keep to yourself.
i’ll let you in, though, despite my inclinations to keep this quiet. provided that you listen to me. I mean it, lean in and listen close. they are making the best steak tartare in north brooklyn. and I’m only setting geographical boundaries here because i haven’t tried all the steak tartare in all of brooklyn, but I can say with confidence, holy shit.
there is no raw egg to run amok upon the terrain of thinly chopped beef, but it doesn’t seem to require it. this dish is delicate and powerful with a perfect balance of brine. with some sort of whipped magic beneath that I kind of wanted to spread all over my face. I mean, I wasn’t going to because this place is inoffensively refined, but I imagined putting it all over my face. twice.
what followed this preposterously well-balanced dish was a taste of the country pate, and 6 oysters with a light parsley mignonette, perfectly paired with a sparkling white bourdeaux. the entire experience felt indulgent, as if, perhaps, i did need an alibi.
just over 4 weeks old, chez ma tante has been generating plenty of hype in the hood and beyond our blurred little boundaries. they moved into the old jimmy’s, which, ok, did pull at my heart strings a bit, but any tinge of nostalgia quickly dissipated with my first sip of my Dorothy Parker negroni amid the delicate lighting and vintage minimalist decor, and I swear not a trace of the former occupants, with their syrupy stickiness and bottomless coffee remnants, were to be found… although this canadien natives affinity for maple has found it’s way subtley into a handful of the recipes.
no part of my time at chez ma tante didn’t charm the pants off of me (good thing I wear only jumpsuits) (I’m serious, i only wear jumpsuits). it felt both lavish and clandestine, as most good things in life are. i learned also thet chez ma tante is the name of a hot dog stand in Montreal that the owner is particularly fond of. And I like anyone who likes hot dogs shamelessly enough to open a restaurant named after a stand, and then peddle perfectly poised plates rather than weiners.
they’ve had a full house every night so trust me, so get in there quick. because the answer you want on your lips come Monday morning, when someone asks, where have you been?
chez ma tante.
inoffensive refinement, approachable luxury, dynamic flavors, and a particularly delightful bathroom.
what not to miss.
the steak tartare, the oysters, the country pate, the monkfish.
a dorothy collins negroni to start, a sparkling white bourdeaux to accompany the plates.
how not to miss it.
sun 11:30–3pm, 5:30–10pm
mon, tues closed.
90 calyer st.