Chef Glenroy Brown didn’t know what a French dip sandwich was, exactly, when his boss Jacob Hadjigeorgis at Upper West Side Southern-style brunch destination Jacob's Pickles mentioned it.A year of sandwich-making later, Brown is heading up a raucous new French bistro around the concept: Maison Pickle (2315 Broadway, Upper West Side).
A classic French dip is made by boiling beef then slicing it fine on a roll, with a cup of its own juices on the side. But four and a half years at Blue Smoke led Brown to roast the meat instead, giving it tons of flavor even before it’s reintroduced to its juices. One more tip: the pillowly shrimp dumplings are an outlier on the largely French menu, but it would be a shame to overlook these plump pockets in their nose-tickling ginger-chili cream sauce.
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The bar is more cocktail-focused, though wine and beer (including aged "vintage" brews) also stand ready to complement the French dips, five in all, that Brown has reinvented while discovering them.
For now, Brown is splitting his time between Jacob’s and Maison, leaving him with little time to go out. The Bronx resident gamely shared some of his favorite spots — keep the seats warm for him.
Out-of-town guests: “The Meatpacking District, actually. I have a friend who owns a Peruvian ceviche concept called Mission Ceviche, really good, fresh seafood.” Gansevoort Market, 353 W. 14th St., Chelsea
Hidden gem: “There’s this spot, Mi Ranchito, a Mexican restaurant with traditional food. They have the best Mexican food I’ve ever had — and I eat a lot of Mexican food. You can order 10 or 12 things and it’ll come out to $30.” 1468 St. Nicholas Ave., Washington Heights
Under $10: “I like to support local businesses, the mommas and poppas; I tend to avoid the big, popular restaurants. Tejada Deli is right around the corner from where I live — I go there on my days off to have lunch, the stewed chicken and rice with salad and beans. Their home cooking is so good.” 2381 Valentine Ave., Bronx
Date night: “Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar is nice, it’s quiet. Their catfish taco is really good. I get that to start, then they have a stuffed chicken breast with spicy sauce and mashed potatoes.” 551 Fifth Ave., Midtown East
Late night: “I have a really good friend, DJ TrueBlends, he’s really popular now in the city, so whenever I do go out I try to go where he’s DJing.” djtrueblends.com