Le Turtle sounds like an inside joke between two jaded industry people in the know. Let’s give this restaurant a ridiculous name and decorate things in dystopian chic and see if people are dumb enough to fall for it. I’m being a little harsh here, I doubt the owners were thinking in such a cynical and calculating way, but manufacturing hype seems to be a motivator for this restaurant.
Luckily Le Turtle is not a sham and the food is actually amazing. There are a lot of places that make great chicken in the city, and now add Le Turtle’s chicken for two to that list. The chicken arrives, claws intact, as if it gave a good fight before surrendering to its fate. It gives you reassurance that this chicken is a fresh kill, and it tastes that way, because it’s tender, moist and extremely delicious.
The other dishes that we tried weren’t as dramatic as the chicken, but they all impressed in more subtle ways. Cheese plates are never all that exciting, a little bleu and brie with some bread on the side, but it would be a different story if they were as creamy and luscious as the selections at Le Turtle. Spread it over some well-crusted bread for an unforgettable pairing. I didn’t think the caesar salad would be anything to write home about, but like everything else here, it was. The black bass crudo was probably the most traditional tasting out of the bunch, and coincidentally it was the least memorable, but its only flaw was that it was a little boring. But totally competent.
My only reservation about this place is that the service is a little off at times, and twice I witnessed tables getting overcharged for something they didn’t order, including us. It’s little things like that that make me think maybe the management is out to get us with their whole Le Turtle scheme. But ultimately it boils down to the food, which is legitimately good, and so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.
177 Chrystie St (and Rivington St)
New York, NY 10002