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The New York Optimist was recently invited to Capsouto Freres, a beautiful French restaurant located on a quiet corner of Washington Street in Tribeca.
The cobblestones that line Washington Street and many others in Tribeca remind me of the time when Manhattan's artists roamed free and lived on the
island in affordable loft spaces. (While downtown Manhattan is still home to many artists, unlike back in the 80's, artists who reside here now have to be
somewhat successful - or have trust funds- to pay for the towering rents.) Established by three brothers back in 1980, Capsouto Freres is one of a few
restaurants in Tribeca that has stayed relevant and has thrived for so many years.
Capsouto Freres' high ceilings, lace curtains, mood-inspired lighting and exposed brick walls all lend to the lofty, artistic atmosphere. My guest and I were
captivated by the sensuous aromas emanating from the kitchen. Sharply dressed in a navy blue single breasted suit, Marco, the youngest member of the
Capsuto family, graciously greeted us at the door and led us to a table that overlooked the entire restaurant.
We started with Marco's recommendations: escargot, Perrine fois grois and the Artichoke Maison, his grandma's "famous" recipe. The appetizers were
accompanied by a deliciously crisp and fragrant Israeli wine Sauvignon Blanc from Galil, one of a selection of wines which Capsouto Freres is famous for
and one I highly recommend. Marco stopped by our table and sat with us for a moment to fill us in on very interesting tidbits of history that has made this
restaurant a Tribeca staple for over thirty years. Capsouto Freres' three brothers were born in Egypt, moved to France, and eventually settled in New
York City. Like so many of us who have come to this great country, they are happy to be here and I am happy that they have brought us such a special
taste of Mediterranean culture and cuisine.
Being a family run business, the attention to service was evident. Our server made us feel right at home.
The entire restaurant buzzed with a quiet content feeling that kept my guest and I smiling from appetizer to dessert.
or entrees we tried the seafood bouillabaisse, the meat and poultry cassoulet and the divine shrimp and scallops on fresh pasta. With every course and
every taste, I was inspired to make a humming sound like a French chef purveying his masterpiece. I was so overcome with happiness from this meal that
the next time Marco stopped by our table, I had to give him a hug like I was part of the family. (I think I did this partly because the tastes of these dishes
were like dining in heaven and partly because the chilled Israeli Muscat Yarden 2006 went down just as easily as these amazing dishes.) Marco
courteously accepted my hug and offered one to my guest to ensure she didn't feel left out.
For dessert, we finished with Capsuto Freres' famous, gorgeous chocolate soufflé. (Our French waitress noted that the souffle served here is better than
any she's tried in France). We also tried the seasonal fig soufflé, a light and sumptuous treat not to pass up.
Romantic, engaging, captivating. Capsouto Freres is all of these things and more, just ask the locals and famous clientele who dine here. Take your wife,
take your date, take your family. I promise you that a meal at Capsouto Freres is an experience you won't soon forget.