The stretch of Ninth Avenue between 50th Street and 56th Streets teems with affordable restaurants serving Vietnamese, Puerto Rican, Italian, and diner food. But there are no contemporary, Balthazar-style French brasseries. Until tomorrow. Brasserie 52 is small but polished, the menu packed with standards like escargot with garlic butter, foie gras mousse, and steak au poivre. The relatively expansive bar and vaguely Continental brunch fare (eggs Florentine, spinach salad with warm bacon dressing) might just make it a local standby.
Brasserie 52, 772 Ninth Ave., nr. 52nd St.; 212-586-5005.