Restaurant of the Week: Tree

Tree, a darling restaurant that recently opened in the East Village, is firmly rooted in classic French cuisine. The name is a tribute to the trees in its 1,200-square-foot garden patio. Our warm and engaged server immediately made us feel like we belonged in the snug 30-seat space. Co-owners Colm Clancy and Andrew Robinson (who is also the chef) have transformed former restaurant Brunetta's into a joyful pied-à-terre, erecting a wood bar, tiling the floors and painting the walls a soft lemon yellow. Robinson's rustic, homemade country pâté ($6), served with toast points, sharp mustard and cornichons, is hugely satisfying. While sweetly fragrant French onion soup ($6) is unabashedly dished up with a thick mantle of cheese, the mesclun salad with poached eggs and tiny cubes of lardons ($12) is tossed with vinaigrette, giving a whole new meaning to eggs and bacon. And what's not to like about a perfectly cooked steak ($23) with crisp frites and haricots verts, great French wine and Serge Gainsbourg crooning on the stereo? Hearty dishes like cassoulet ($16) with duck confit and fresh bacon will be spared from the menu in summer for lighter fare, especially fish, but we hope the custard-based Alsatian apple tart ($7) and lovely crème brûlée ($7) will be available year-round. 190 First Ave., (212) 358-7171. Julie Besonen

Subscribe to Get More