First Look: Sidewalk Bistro

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The Sidewalk Bistro, the new cafe from partners Daout Celestin and Alain Eigenmann — the former maitre d’ of Xaviars at Piermont and chef at Provence in Manhattan, respectively — opened on Saturday. Over the first three days they served than 500 people per day. So when I asked Alain what he would consider his signature dish, he immediately said the shrimp brochette. After all, he said, it’s what people are ordering most.

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I got there about 630 last night, and the place was just starting to draw diners:

There is a bar room when you enter:

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And a little nook with tables to your right:

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On the other side of the bar, through a small service hallway, is the other dining room:

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Out back is the patio:

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With its own bar:

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Yes, there are tons of sidewalk tables, but for some reason my photo came out very blurry.

There are beautiful riddling racks that are back lit:

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And French posters on the light mustard walls:

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Here are Alain and Daout:

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Alain, on the left, and Daout have know each other for 22 years. They met while working at Raoul’s in Nyack and were best men in each other’s weddings. Alain also cooked for Claude Bail at the Ho Ho Kus Inn in New Jersey before opening his own place, Alain’s Bistro in Norwood, N.J. He was the chef at Gascogne in Manhattan before becoming the chef at Provence in Manhattan, where he was between 2003 and 2006.

Daout had been working for Peter X. Kelly at Xaviars at Piermont for 18 years before this. He was the maitre d’.

I wasn’t staying for dinner, but Alain let me hang out in the kitchen a while so I could get some photos of dishes so you all could see. I only tasted one thing (the pizzette, that’s at the end), so I can’t give you any feel for the flavor of the other dishes. But I think you’ll get a nice feel for the style of food they’re serving.

The hardworking line:

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Tartar de boeuf ($17):
Raw beef, condiments, quail egg:

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Chevre Chau ($10)
Warm goat cheese on toast with mixed greens and herbs:

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Napoleon de tomates ($9)
Tomato and fresh mozzarella, fresh basil:

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Jardinette ($6)
Mixed greens, pear tomato, Dijon vinaigrette:

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Nu et Cru ($8)
Salmon carpaccio, citrus and passion fruit oils, avocado puree:

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Brandade de morue ($10)
Puree of salted cod fish and potato:

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Cassoulette d’Escargos ($9)
Escargots, garlic butter:

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Endive et Roquefort ($9)
Endive, pear, blue cheese and walnut dressing:

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Fresh Ravioli ($16)
Porcini mushrooms, creamy pesto sauce:

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Moule Marinere ($8)
Mussels, white wine, garlic, parsley:

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Poulet Grille ($16)
Marinated chicken breast, field greens, haricot verts, asparagus, figs, apple, balsamic vinaigrette:

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Beignet de crabe ($12)
Crab cake, fennel slaw, parsley:

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Bistro burger ($10)
Kobe beef, lettuce, tomato, onion, French fries:

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Close up:

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Brochette Provencale ($22)
Shrimp, scallops, polenta, grilled asparagus and fennel pollen:
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L’entrecote Pan Seared ($25)
Au poivre sauce, French fries:
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Carre d’Agneau aux Romarin ($26)
Roasted rack of lamb, tomato tatin, panisse, haricot verts:
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Panisse are fried chick pea sticks.
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Fruits rouges a la creme ($8)
Mixed berries with whipped cream:

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The pastry chef is Jacqueline Burns. Andre Renard, a famous French pastry chef, consulted.

And the only thing I tasted all evening, the pizzette. This one is the Alsacien ($12), with meunster, cheese, onions and bacon:

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It was crispy, pork and cheesy. Very delicious. (Alain is from Alsace, and says we can expect to see things like choucroute on his winter menu.)

The kitchen staff works the line:

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As I was leaving the place really started to fill up:

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Sidewalk Bistro, 482 Piermont Ave., Piermont. 845-680-6460.

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About Author

Liz Johnson is content strategist for The Journal News and lohud.com, and the founding editor of lohudfood, formerly know as Small Bites. As food editor, she won awards from the New York News Publishers Association, the Association of Food Journalists and the Associated Press. She lives in Nyack with her husband and daughter on a tiny suburban lot they call their farm — with fruit trees, an herb garden, and a yardful of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shallots, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, cabbage, peppers, Brussels sprouts and carrots and four big blueberry bushes.

15 Comments

  1. Went to the Sidewalk Bistro this past weekend and the service and food were wonderful. Wishing you both much success!!

  2. Great place. Amazing staff coming together from all over the county to put this place together and the food is great. This place can only get better!!

  3. CJ I was going to ask the same thing! I’m really looking forward to going there.

  4. muenster cheese on a pizza, huh? never tried that before but it’s gotta be good! melted muenster is among my fave cheeses.

    and i want that endive salad — minus the blue cheese, which is among my least fave cheeses.

    only thing — what beers are on tap there? i see blue moon, stella and one other. what is that tap in the middle? (whatever it is, it should be captain lawrence!)

  5. Food looks well presented. Hope it tastes as good as it looks. Here’s an important question, though: How’s the wine list?

  6. Dick and Liz on

    We went there Wed night and had the salmon carpaccio, crab cakes, the shrimp and scallop brochette and the fennel and pear salad. All were delicious. the service was lovely. Our Wait person was charming but a little over solicitous.

    We will defintely return

  7. Daout is first class….only wishing him the best…good luck w. your endeavor !!!

  8. FANTASTIC!!!! another fine eatery on restaurant row in Piermont.

    Best of luck to Daout and Alain!!

  9. Sidewalk Bistro had some big shoes to fill when my husband and I learned its predecessor Sidewalk Café had turned its burners off for good. Sidewalk Café was a place for us to go to unwind and enjoy deliciously good, Southwestern food. In the winter, you could warm up inside with some hearty chili seasoned just right and in the summer, you could cool down in the beer garden outback with the freshest $2 Sam Adams draught and our favorite, unmatched dish, the Southwestern Chicken. Simple as it was, just a breast of chicken seasoned with Cajun spices and sautéed, served alongside black beans, rice and guac; I can not seem to replicate the dish at home, so we feel a great sense of loss that we’ll never enjoy this perfectly executed meal again.

    Although we lament our laidback haven of fine, yet un-fussy fare, one of our greatest pleasures is experiencing a new restaurant in Rockland. When one door closes, another must open; so the saying goes.

    After reading Liz’s blog, my first impression was, “how could these two restaurants share a similar name, yet have such an opposite approach to food?” I decided to keep an open mind because the newcomer already had two strikes against it by replacing an old favorite and for being the one genre of food I am not particularly a fan off.
    Anyway, after seeing some of the dishes on this blog, I decided we better forgo the casual attire for the evening and wear something a little more NYCesque.

    Upon our arrival, we were impressed with the classy renovations, yet confused as to where to go or what to do next when we walked into the entrance near the bar and nobody acknowledged us. So we just walked around kind of lost until we ran into the hostess who seated us outside.

    When our waitress greeted us, she was incredibly sweet and very knowledgeable of the menu, explaining dish descriptors such as crème fraîche and going through the daily specials. I decided on the Bistro Burger cooked medium and added Swiss. My husband chose the Hanger Steak cooked medium rare (his preference and the waitress’s recommendation).

    While waiting for our dinner, a staff meeting seemed to form next to our table. The owner began giving instructions to the staff that we could hear making us feel a little uncomfortable. In fact, the entire vibe of the bistro was a bit stiff, impersonal and pretentious. Being that the restaurant just opened, the owners could really have benefited from greeting their guests to make them feel more welcome rather than working out their operational kinks in front of us. Then again, maybe we were the only ones feeling like we had to maintain perfect posture and proper etiquette the entire time we were there. Looking around, we came to realize that we had never seen this clientele in Rockland before and perhaps we just didn’t fit in.

    Our food arrived looking really good and we were more than ready to dig in. I had to ask for ketchup which made me feel a little underclass, but my French fries can’t go bare. My Kobe (domestic) burger was tasty, but overcooked to medium-well and every bite dripped grease on my hands. I love juicy burgers, but not greasy. There’s a difference. My husband’s steak was wonderfully seasoned, but again, overcooked to medium-well.

    Overall, our experience wasn’t bad, but wasn’t great. We simply weren’t comfortable and the food was average making us miss Sidewalk Café that much more. At least there we could be ourselves, the owner always greeted us and the food was some of the best in town. Perhaps last night we were just out of our element. You decide.

  10. Just got back from an early dinner at sidewalk bistro. Food was great, service knowledgeble and accomodating and prices reasonable. We had the mussels, crab cakes, kobe burger and rib eye a poive. All were prepared properly and presented nicely. This new incarnation is far and away better than sidewalk cafe and a worthy alternative to freelance which is just down the block. We will be back soon and often.

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