Experience France Without Leaving NYC at Match 65 Brasserie

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Match 65 Brasserie emmulates a Parisian café. (Alexandra Sayegh for The Fordham Ram)

Alexandra Sayegh, Contributing Writer

Have you ever fantasized about traveling to charming French cities and enjoying the cuisine like a local? Look no further — you can get a similar experience just by taking a trip to our backyard of Manhattan. Located in the Upper East Side, Match 65 Brasserie encapsulates everything about a classic French bistro. Although it is situated on a street adjacent to Madison Avenue’s lavish restaurants and luxurious designer shops, this bistro sits rather modestly with its small sidewalk dining area and intimate indoor seating. Its interior is adorned with framed photos of French icons on the walls, illuminated by the dim, romantic light that falls on the room. The exterior is fashioned with a bright red awning and checkered patio chairs, décor that one may find while wandering any street in Paris. Not only does its façade resemble an authentic Parisian terrace, but the food served here will also have you transported to France.

For French people, a staple of their cuisine (or more like their daily bread) is the croissant. I can’t blame the French, though — especially after I enjoyed a warm, homemade croissant at Match. This pastry is recognized as one of the most classic French treats, and it tasted just as good as you can imagine. The inside was as buttery and fluffy as expected, but I didn’t expect a hint of some sweet flavor, making the experience so much better. The flaky crust was golden all around and was sprinkled with powdered sugar, adding some more sweetness to each bite. The best part about it was that it wasn’t too decadent or filling and did not prevent me from enjoying my main course. So, in this case, I say to have dessert first and save the entrée for later. At Match 65, you can satisfy your sweet tooth before your meal without feeling guilty. 

The bistro not only puts special TLC into their croissant but also into their traditional French meals. Next on my order was escargots. Yes, snails. I know some people find controversy in this dish, but if you took a chance on it, I am certain you would adore it. I mean, what’s not to love? The escargots are served inside small dimples of a hot dish and sit in pools of garlic butter and parsley. Now do I have your attention? The dish is served with two slices of a crispy, toasted baguette, and after enjoying a snail or two, you can dip your bread in the garlic-buttery  goodness. I can assure you that you will lick your plate clean. 

Other French cuisines offered here include steak tartare, pâté de campagne, salade niçoise and chicken paillarde. While these options all appealed to me, I was not that adventurous with my ordering and instead asked for a cheeseburger and fries. This order may not sound exciting or particularly French, but it was delicious and made for the perfect complement to my lunch. It was kept simple with all the fixings: lettuce, tomato, onion. The flavor and cook of the meat itself, as well as the buttered bun, was what really delighted my senses. The crispy golden fries on the side did not stand a chance — once I started with them, I couldn’t stop. This was the final meal of my dining experience, and I savored every last bite. 

The prices at Match 65 indeed correlate to the bistro’s hot-spot location between Madison and Park Ave. For instance, the escargots were enough to feed one person and cost $20. Additionally, salads were close to $30, and entrees ranged between $30-40. These relatively high prices are to be expected in many places scattered along the Upper East Side. Nonetheless, I believe the cost of your visit not only includes the food but the overall experience and atmosphere as well. This bistro does not resemble any other restaurant on the block; instead, it seems as if it were forklifted from a quaint street of Paris and dropped right amidst the hustle and bustle of New York City. Match 65 will take you on a gastronomic journey to the city of lights and will allow you to experience France without ever leaving town.