J’adore, as in love, love, love, the South of France, and so often, all that love has nowhere to go.
No longer! I’m utterly smitten with Pates et Traditions, a quiet little restaurant on a pleasant block of Havemeyer Street just around the corner…
Its bright interior is so charming — a mix of sturdy country woods and wrought-iron table sets, walls adorned with bric-à-brac from the region — that if it weren’t for the large picture windows overlooking the brick walls of a local printing business, you very well may feel as if you’d clicked your heels three times, opened your eyes and found yourself nowhere near New York (or Williamsburg). (This is a good thing.)
In addition to keeping true French hours — Pates et Traditions may or may not be open for lunch on weekdays, depending on the weather — the menu is so quintessentially French:
House wine starts at $5 a glass (and it isn’t bad); a short list of fresh salads feature Provençal herbs and olives. There are a few pasta dishes and some regional specialties — such as la pissaladiere, a Niçoise pizza topped with onions, herbs, anchovies and olives from Provence ($12) — but on this first visit, I never got past the crêpes. From a list nearly 20 deep, I settled on the forestiere ($10): strips of ham, mushrooms, garlic, parsley, in a creamy bechamel sauce, tucked in a pocket-like fashion into a traditional buckwheat crêpe.
(Known in France as a “galette,” buckwheat crêpes have the added bonus of being gluten-free and loaded with good nutrition.)
In a quiet state of contemplative happiness, my crêpe and wine before me, I imagined myself sitting in all the different seats in the house eating my way through the entire menu — from the pillow seats in large, picture windows, and once the weather’s just a touch nicer, saddling up on the high chairs out front and watching the world go by.
It appears that I will not be moving out of the neighborhood anytime soon.
Pates et Traditions, 52 Havemeyer St. at N. 6th St., Brooklyn, 646-409-4019. Cash only.