Every neighborhood should have its own gastrothèque, as charming little Buvette characterizes itself. Though the term is not a familiar one, we’re sure that the spot — a slim, cozy, wine-driven bar, serving up homey, French-focused small plates that swaddle the appetite into a snug satisfaction — is the definition of it.
The duck rillettes ($9), a mini tureen full of spreadable potted poultry, is certainly a dish that embodies that feeling. Soft and perfectly fatty, spiced with a touch of fennel, the plate comes with cornichons, caperberries, olives and thick-cut French bread toast slathered with olive oil. Opened in 2011 on one of the city’s quaintest streets, Buvette brings the preciousness of the block inside so that it pervades every detail of the decor, service and chef/owner Jody Williams’s food for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night snacks. It’s the sort of place that one can settle in and write some poetry or begin a novel over a selection of cheese ($7), charcuterie ($9) or a steak tartare ($15); a slice of the Left Bank in the West Village.