Though the restaurant’s name implies quite a long trip, it only takes a quick subway ride to the Flatiron District to enjoy delicious cuisine at 1200 Miles. Opened in mid-September, Chef Pierre Rougey’s new restaurant is named after the distance between Paris and Algiers and features a blend of traditional French and Algerian cuisine.
The restaurant’s most notable feature is its simple and elegant décor. A wooden bar runs along one length of the room while a raised platform with tables and booths lines the other side. Lightbulbs hang in simple wicker shades, giving the place a soft glow, and one white brick wall is decorated entirely with mirrors of different shapes and sizes.
The wait staff is polite and attentive, bringing baskets of crusty sourdough bread and herbed olive oil while patrons waited. Though not warm, the bread is very soft and the oil had a strong flavor of thyme. The menu is not very long and boasts traditional dishes from both cultures, such as lamb tagine, roasted chicken with rosemary jus and french “frites,” and various salads and sides. The artichoke and asparagus salad with Dijon vinaigrette is a perfect example of a typical light French dish, while the roasted bone marrow with honey, mint, and pistachios shows the strong Algerian influence. In a North African manner, there are dishes like hummus, kebabs, and the ever-important French cheese plate for the whole table.
At $24, the seared salmon is excellent, perfectly juicy, and served with a side of mildly spiced lentil stew. The salmon comes with Swiss chard, creating a well-balanced meal all in one dish. While perhaps not traditional French fare, the 1200 Miles Burger, with its soft pretzel bun, is equally good. The fries were perfectly crisp and seasoned. Even without a side or starter, the mains were filling enough, especially after two bread baskets.
There was also a wide selection of herbal teas, wines, and beautiful mixed drinks like the exotic Algeria, made from pisco, apricot brandy, pineapple, and orange.
Overall, the food was reasonably priced for the size and quality of the meal. Sides, like the french fries, are $8 each, and starters are in the $10-$15 range.
1200 Miles is at 31 W. 21st St., between 5th and 6th avenues.