In this edition of Model Eats Manhattan, Taste Collection caught up with Asia’s Next Top Model alumnus Stephanie Retuya at sexy and sassy bistro, Dirty French (locatedin the lobby of the Ludlow Hotel). The interiors of this hip Lower East Side haunt are reminiscent of an upscale 20s French brothel - think Moulin Rouge!
This is the perfect setting for us to sit down with Steph whose sweet but sassy disposition matches the vibe of the restaurant. A self-proclaimed late bloomer, Steph’s interest in fashion started in her late teens through watching Fashion TV and studying the moves of her favorite models Natalia Vodianove, Lily Donaldson, and Fei Fei Sun.
As we snacked on the complimentary flatbread and dip(sogood you’ll want to come back just for that), we asked Steph a couple of short questions to get to know her better.
TC: What are you currently watching on Netflix?
Steph: Sherlock Holmes
TC: What was the last gift you gave someone?
Steph: Echo Dot Alexa
TC: What’s your hangover food?
Steph: Ramen, dim sum — any noodles to be honest, including instant ones!
TC: What is your life motto?
Steph: If it scares you, you are on the right track.
TC: Plan a fun NYC date with us!
Steph: We could go a two hour cruise around NYC that includes food and free-flowing champagne and be back in the city to hit up the Igloo rooftop bars. There would also be a lot of walking around the city and nonstop conversation.
TC: What is your spirit animal?
Steph: A swan.
TC: What was your favorite dish and why?
Steph: Oh my that is a hard question! I loved the grilled oysters(Ithink i finished them by myself) and I enjoyed the duck a l’orange very much as well. The seafood, especially the trout is amazing. It is very hard to pick just one dish.
TC: What occasions would you recommend dining at Dirty French?
Steph: Dirty French has a very versatile restaurant vibe and I can see myself bringing a friend who is visiting for a few days here and have a long catch up over drinks, or just a regular chill night with the girlfriends and even bringing my boyfriend here for a date night.
TC: Give me 3 words that decribe your experience at Dirty French.
Steph: Girls, Fun, Sexy
As the conversation kept flowing, so did the onslaught of scrumptious appetizers. As expected, the grilled oysters and tuna tartare were delicious, but we were pleasantly surprised by how good the lamb carpaccio with eggplant and yogurt was.
With the meal off to a good start, our expectations were set high for our main courses. Seafood standouts were: the scallops with celery root and pickled lemon;
Black bass with madras curry and button mushrooms;
Brook trout with sesame and dried apricot.
Each dish was as fresh as taking a dip into the French Riviera!
Another classic bistro crowd pleaser was the duck a l’orange, which had a perfect fat-to-meat ratio. Even if the fattiness of this dish doesn't fit your typical“modeldiet” it is so worth the extra calories, so go ahead and treat yourself! While each main course stands alone, you still get it served with your choice of sides. We suggest the Brussels sprouts or haricots asiatique.
It’s safe to say that our expectations were met. Basically, you can’t go wrong with any of the offerings Dirty French has on their menu. Their blend of classic French bistro cuisine with a modern twist will leave a lasting impression on your taste buds and leave you wanting to try every single dish in the restaurant. While a meal here will set you back a pretty penny, we believe it is worth the extra dollars as the service and staff are very accommodating and friendly.
Whether you come here for a date night with that special someone, with a group of friends to line your stomachs before a night out, or during a day time lunch meeting, this is a spot will make a lasting impression. Casual yet classy, this LES hotspot will not disappoint!
Model Eats Manhattan is our food blog that pairs our favorite neighborhood restaurants with our favorite models. Who says fashion and food are mutually exclusive? Models eat too! If you would like your restaurant or know of someone who would like their business featured in our blog, email email@example.com.
Follow Steph’s adventures around the city at @stephieretuya on instagram.