This post originally appeared on Whisked Foodie.
Nice Matin may just be the most underrated restaurant on the Upper West Side. It is open all day, so you can always get a drink or a small plate at the bar. It is nice enough to frequent with business colleagues yet casual enough to visit in knock-around clothes. And the prices are perfectly on point with the hood – it’s possible to get a tasty entrée and a glass of wine for about $30.
However, the best part of this sunny, spacious, Provence-style bistro is that you needn’t even order an entrée to get the best of what Nice Matin has to offer.
Roasted beets with chevre
The beets are sweet and tender with a bit of bite toward the center of the root. It is substantial, especially with the creamy, soft goat cheese and light sprinkling of fresh chives.
They are braised, not to melting submission, but only until they are somewhat tender. They still have quite a bit of crunch and signature, onion-y bite. Leeks are very rarely done this way stateside, and it is a vibrant side to heartier dishes.
The chickpea fries, a unique take on the French-Italian Riviera treat socca, arrive to the table piping hot. Their thick outer layer, crunchy and salty, breaks open to reveal a warm, soft interior that is earthy and utterly reminiscent of chickpeas. It is falafel’s subtle sister.
Of course, you could get a French-inspired main course of moules Provençale, Tuscan chicken under a brick, or even the restaurant’s signature five-napkin burger. The nightly specials, like bouillabaisse and roast duck, offer more straightforward, honest cooking with a French bent.
But why would you go that route when you could order so many small dishes plus some wine from the excellent by the glass list for the same price?
Nice Matin isn’t only overlooked by those who don’t go there. Sometimes, it’s overlooked by those who do. Step out of the box, and order off the appetizers and side menu the next time you go there, and you will be pleasantly surprised by what you have been missing.