Rebelle is a great new, modern, contemporary French restaurant in Nolita on the Bowery. Rebelle is innovative and creative with its menu but just as equally important and impressive is its mega wine list. Rebelle is founded by the owners of Pearl & Ash, Patrick Cappiello and Branden McRill, along with chef Daniel Eddy.
The restaurant is a casual French bistro with a modern vibe. Upon entering there is a vibrant bar with a double tiered dining room. The decor is dark and modest with an industrial flair of exposed brick, stained cement walls and a beautifully designed open kitchen with marble counter tops.
My main attraction to this restaurant was its impressive wine list of over 1600 bottles curated by partner and wine director Patrick Cappiello. The focus of the magnificent wine list is French and American, with an emphasis on unique wines as well as the big French classic Bordeaux and Burgundies. The wine list is meant to be all-encompassing in its selection and price range. Particularly interesting choices on the list are sparkling wines from Virginia, Syrahs from New Mexico, Cabernets from Finger Lakes and Merlots from North Fork. Cappiello also has an extensive representation of some of my favorite Rieslings from the Finger Lakes region of New York. Rebelle’s wine list is very distinctive, diverse and edgy.
Even with its impressive wine list, I recommend trying some of their cocktails as well, the classic Julep or Manhattan have their own twist here. The Pousse-Café makes a comeback at this bistro, a drink that originated in the mid 1800’s in Paris. Pousse-Café is a signature layered, colorful cocktail with savory layers on top and lowering down to sweet and luscious on the bottom. Very difficult to make, it did not gain in popularity, but Rebelle has revived this drink beautifully with layers of grenadine, pamplemousse and its own concoction of milk punch presented in a Champagne goblet. Though the Pousse-Café is on the cocktail menu, I would savor this drink towards the end of your meal.
The menu at Rebelle is created and designed by Chef Daniel Eddy who previously worked at Spring in Paris. Chef Daniel Eddy has brought the influences of the bistronomie movement of Paris to Rebelle. The bistronomie movement in Paris is a new trend of young chefs creating modern cuisine of Michelin caliber in a relaxed, bistro style atmosphere without the pretenses and stuffiness of Paris’s haute cuisine and culinary traditions. The menu at Rebelle is divided into four courses though everything can be ordered a la-carte. The most delicious item on the menu is the fluke coated in brown butter, sherry, capers and lemon. Another must have is the scallops with turnips and crispy apples, deliciously drizzled in a light, fresh, herb green juice. The chicken is perfectly seared with a side of potatoes, sorrel and lemon preserves. The menu is delightful for vegetarians as well. The carrots with chanterelle, blue footed mushrooms, snap peas, and black pepper are fresh and flavorful. The cheese course was absolutely my most favorite part of the meal. The cheese of the evening was a semi firm Comté cheese. It was perfectly shaved into thin long ribbons, which was a delight to savor. Our waiter perfectly paired the Comté cheese with a wonderful Arbois Jura wine. The wine had a smoky, oxidized quality that is typical of a Jura, with hints of caramel and buttery sherry like notes, that was sheer heaven when paired with the cheese. Finally, you must try the desserts. Pastry chef Jessica Yang of Per Se and Paris’s Guy Savoy has put together the perfect balance of desserts. The Saint Honoré was a heavenly dessert of fresh strawberries in a pastry with mascarpone cheese and the Chocolate Dulcey with praliné, and barley ice cream was delicious with hints of cardamom.
For all you Francophiles, this is the restaurant to come gather with great friends and enjoy wonderful cocktails, wine, cheese, and delectable food. I am certainly looking forward to going back soon.