With Babeth’s Feast, which opened last month, Elisabeth de Kergorlay hopes to be launching nothing short of a revolution in home cooking.
Babeth’s Feast is an attractive space on the Upper East Side selling mostly frozen food from ready-to-eat dishes (with a Gallic touch sometimes) to frozen fish. But the dishes have nothing to do with the either sodium-laden or diet meals found in grocery stores’ frozen aisles.
Premium frozen food stores are a familiar sight in France and a regular stop for families looking to stock up on groceries. In Paris, de Kergorlay says, people often add their own touches to hide the fact that the dishes were frozen.
Babeth’s Feast uses ingredients that are premium, often locally sourced, and dishes are cooked in New York state. The store also carries other brands, many of them local such as Roberta’s pizzas.
Last week, I picked up a few items at Babeth’s Feast. A friend was coming over for dinner the following night. An hour before she arrived, I threw the coq au vin and tomato crumble in the oven (another option is to use the microwave, if you are in a hurry). The verdict? Dishes that you would never have predicted as frozen.
The potato-leek velouté soup, which I had thawed and reheated on the stovetop (you can really give the appearance of having slaved over these if you so choose to), was velvety and delicious.
Not as well known but also very good are the savory crumbles—in this case, a tomato crumble, with a cheese crumble on top, which was so good that, on the way from oven to plate, it became a third smaller, via tasting.
The chocolate soufflés, which had thawed in the fridge since the morning, went into the oven during the meal, creating an enticing scent. Nothing was left after the meal.
The best part, though, was the minimal elbow grease, which means you can attend to other things in life, such as your guests’ happiness, or family quality time.
The staff is helpful, offering samples and tips. Babeth’s Feast also ships nationwide.
1422 Third Ave. (between 80th and 81st streets)