In the heart of the French community spread throughout Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill, Robin des Bois restaurant offers tasty platters in a whimsical atmosphere. A lanky well dressed Frenchman greets you at the door with a smile and a charming French accent. A giant crystal chandelier in the center of the room sends bits of light spinning off the walls. Below that, a life-size statue of Madonna and baby Jesus watch over the room, whose walls are ironically covered in sexy, obscure vintage posters of Robin Hood films in different languages. If you look up, you may even find a paddle boat suspended above your head.
When the snow is falling outside, have a seat at the little wooden table near the fireplace, or grab a red leather stool at the bar where you’ll spy the tiny green absinthe fairy peaking out at you from behind the bottles. Enjoy a classic Cosmo or a chilled glass of the house bubbly, which is pleasantly pétillant.
During the warm months when all of New York City is sitting at sidewalk cafés, find a table out in Sherwood Forest (Robin des Bois’ charming garden) where leafy green trees provide blissful shade and the theme of kitschy signs from the interior continues. Order the fresh gazpacho, which has the sweet crunch of chopped cucumber mingled with the tomato-based cold soup.
While the menu covers provide a feast for the eyes with vintage images of scantily clad ladies, you’ll find a feast for your stomach on the inside. The small plate combinations are perfect for sharing or for a varied meal. Choices consist mainly of French country cuisine: sautéed chicken livers, escargots with butter and parsley, or mousse trouffé with toasts. The baked Manchego cheese served with slices of baguette is decadently creamy and rich.
A favorite main course is the mustard-crusted salmon with creamy lentils and sautéed vegetables. This is a bit different from your average grilled salmon in that the taste is almost Asian inspired with a tangy soy glaze, which couples well with the creamy lentils. Other good bets are the skirt steak au poivre with potato gratin and sautéed string beans or the half roasted free range chicken with mashed potatoes. Choose a glass of Côtes du Rhône or a bottle of Malbec from their fairly priced, mostly French wine list to wash it all down.
Don’t miss the divine crème brûlée for dessert, a well- executed classic. You may even find yourself fighting amongst your dinner guests about who gets to crack the sugar top, à la Amélie Poulain. After the last drop of wine has been drunk, you’re sure to feel as satiated as Friar Tuck after his evening meal.
Whenever you’re ready to return to the land of plenty, Sherwood Café of French Brooklyn will be waiting.
Robin des Bois
195 Smith Street (near Warren)
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Metro: F or G train to Bergen St.