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  Occasion: Cuisine: Area: Cost: Rating:
  Night Out French Soho Moderate Great


Ask most people how they’ve met their husbands, wives, or significant others these days and you’ll probably get a sheepish smile and then the inevitable admission—we met online. Way back in the olden days, before the era of mix-n-match online catalogue shopping, err, dating, people met through friends, at parties, or on blind dates. (I met Craig at the coffee shop where we both write.) Vicki Freeman met her husband when she hired him. It was 1993, and he was a chef and she needed one for her first restaurant, a place in Soho called Vix. After some time passed, they got together. On nights off, they frequented a restaurant they both loved called Provence. It was an authentic slice of the French countryside, a sweet spot set behind a set of tall doors thrown open to a sleepy, tree-lined block of Soho that always seemed drenched in a haze yellow sunlight and pink wine.

Three years later, on a night over dinner in 1996, Marc took a chance and posed one very significant yes-no question. The answer he received was yes. They married the next year, and went on to open Five Points, where they grew a following for killer brunch and an American menu that mirrored the seasons. Five years later they opened their second restaurant, Cookshop, a more serious meditation on local ingredients, with farmers listed on a chalk board and a menu of grilled and rotisserie meats, and again, a Sunday brunch that’d pull Rip Van Winkle out of bed.

They had their two restaurants, two kids, and seemed content to let things develop and grow. But then, you know the saying: the best laid plans. Provence was up for lease by its owner Michel Jean. There was a chance for them to take it over and to resurrect and refurbish Provence in a style true to its beginnings. And so a little over a year from opening Cookshop, they partnered with Aibhinn Wilson O’Keeffe, one of their managers from Five Points, and started work on Provence. Their chef de cuisine, Lynn McNeely (formerly of Barbutto) was dispatched to Provence to eat and cook. His menu would be seasonal, of course, but would be embroidered with the soul of this Mediterranean paradise—olives, garlic, figs, rosemary, and lavender. They brought on Jim Meehan (Gramercy Tavern, PDT) to develop a list of cocktails that would honor the classics and yet recognize the spirit of Provence in drinks like the Corpse Reviver, a lively mix of gin, Lillet ... [more, click below]

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Other restaurants in Soho :
+ Balthazar   + Savoy   + Blue Ribbon   + Lupa   + Public   + Kittichai   + Lure Fishbar   + Barmarche   + Porcupine-- CLOSED   + Ama   + La Esquina   + Jerry's- Closed Now   + The Tasting Room   + Papatzul   + Shorty's.32   + The Monday Room   + Ed's Lobster Bar   + Aurora   + Provence   + Tailor   + Hundred Acres   + Delicatessen, By Guest Reviewer Julie Besonen   + The Mott   + The Dutch   + Cherrywood, by Guest Reviewer Dara Pollak   

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