Restaurant Review: Demarchelier

“We eat at Long Island restaurants frequently but we also occasionally dine in the city and would love to see you review a calm, less than well known, off the beaten path one there.”

“We love French food but there are relatively few authentic restaurants on the Island (and they are disappearing). There aren’t even as many in the city as there once were. Any suggestions in either place?”

It’s rare that one restaurant answers both of these requests I frequently receive. But there is one. Far from the hubbub of Times Square and the Theater District on the fashionable Upper East Side is the family-owned 25-year-old Demarchelier. It’s an authentic, very French bistro that opened in 1978 and moved to its present location on East 8th Street in 1992.

Related Content
Restaurant Review: Matteos

Unlike the restaurants that typically offer only escargot and onion soup with a standard American menu but claim to be French, or those with merely French décor, Demachelier is the real thing. Though rarely advertised, pushed or promoted, its owner French born Eric Demarchelier is an artist whose rotating work appears on the walls of his restaurant. Its interspersed with traditional old French prints. The restaurant is managed by his daughter, the warm, engaging Emily Demarchelier.

Our French waitress suggested we check out the weekly specials and I’m glad she did. They well represented the French authenticity of the owner and chef (Marc Tagournet). On Tuesdays, the featured dish is couscous. My fellow diners and I ordered the Wednesday special, a massive portion of duck a l’orange with an intoxicating sauce. Thursday’s special features cassoulet, a hearty meat and bean concoction immensely popular in France, especially in winter time but rarely encountered in this country. The Friday and Saturday entries are bouillabaisse and pot-au-feu. The traditional weekly specials are anything but usual. This very French menu also offers a very generous serving of rich, rewarding foie gras, duck confit, coq au vin, moules mariniere, steak tartare, sole, cheese fondue, tarte fine au pommes and crepe suzette.

richard jay scholem

Richard Jay Scholem practically invented the Long Island restaurant culture through 800+ reviews of the region's eateries both on radio and in print over the last 30 years. He is a former New York Times Long Island Section restaurant reviewer, has contributed to the Great Restaurants of...magazines and Bon Vivant, authored a book, aired reviews on WGSM and WCTO radio stations, served on the board of countless community and food and beverage organizations, and received many accolades for his journalism in both print and broadcast media. He is currently available for restaurant consultation. Reach him at (631) 271-3227.