Neighborhood Eats: French fare in Harlem

Friday, September 08, 2017 06:52PM
Lauren Glassberg heads to Harlem for some French fare.


HARLEM, Manhattan - Your summer diet must be over, because Neighborhood Eats is back! In this edition, we're headed to Harlem for some French fare.

Rendezvous is a French word most Americans can say without breaking their teeth, and Kfir Ben-Ari cut his own teeth cooking at top restaurants in France and New York.

But the Israeli-born chef always wanted to own his own place, and he decided to open in the Big Apple neighborhood he moved to 14 years ago.

"The people are so laid back and easygoing," he said. "I speak their language. It's a beautiful mix of everything, all professional, great for all kinds of ages, families."

He first tested the waters with a cafe on Frederick Douglas Boulevard, and then opened Rendezvous two blocks to the south.

Neighbors gather for French bistro fare, with Mediterranean influences. He does a tarte tatin, which is savory by swapping out beets for apples. His kale salad features grilled peaches and toasted goat cheese, and chicken paradis brings in the fall, as does his salmon.
He coats the fish with a Dijon-infused egg wash and coats one side with almonds. It's pan seared and finished in the oven.

"I like to use the almond," he said. "It give a nice contrast texture to the salmon...it really looks like edible scales."

It's served with mushrooms, freekeh and squash.
Recipe for almond-crusted wild king salmon

Each fillet is cut to 6-7 oz., skin off

For 4 fillets:
--1 egg yolk, mixed with 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
--2 cups of sliced blanched almonds
--Salt
--1 tablespoon butter
--3 tablespoon sunflower-seed oil

--Sprinkle salt on both sides of salmon (as per your personal taste)

--Mix egg yolk and mustard. Using a brush, coat the flesh of salmon (not the skin side)

--Place brushed side down the sliced almonds, push gently so almond would stick to the salmon

--Heat a fry pan over medium high heat. Add butter, then add oil to protect the butter from burning

--Place salmon in pan, almond side facing down

--Fry about 45 seconds to 1 minute. Flip, continue cooking the salmon over medium heat for another 30 seconds.

--Place in a preheated oven for 4 minutes at 400 degrees.

--Remove and let rest two minutes before serving with your favorite side dish
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