Update: Chéri is now closed
Wednesday evening, I was invited to a cocktail night at the French bistro Chéri in Harlem. Chéri has just been voted the no. 1 restaurant in Harlem by TripAdvisor, so this was a night of celebration.
The man behind Chéri is the French chef Alain Eoche, who’s been running the successful restaurant Le Reconfort in Marais, Paris for more than 20 years. Though he’s always had a dream of living in New York, operating his own restaurant, and in 2014 that dream finally came true with the opening of Chéri on Lenox Avenue.
When everybody had arrived, the chef held a speech and expressed how grateful he was for the warm welcome he had received from the neighborhood. He seemed like a very humble and kind person and I could easily imagine how he would walk around the tables, making sure everyone is feeling fine, as described in the reviews I had googled before I went.
What I really liked about Chéri, was that the restaurant didn’t feel like a restaurant but more like somebody’s home. The décor was personal with lots of soul, and there was a little story behind most of the items, such as the plates with Andy Warhol images, which turned out to be the chef’s DIY project.
A steady stream of French delicacies such as foie gras, escargots and paté were passed around, and plenty of French wine and champagne further sparked the festive ambience.
It was a really nice evening and I was happy to be there. Regarding the invitation, I was surprised to be invited, because I’m based in Dubai and my blog isn’t very big compared to the US mega-blogs, but it turned out that the people arranging the evening had read some of my other blog posts about Harlem restaurants.
They therefore knew that I like the area, and they had seen that I’m in New York these days. They also knew what my blog is about, who I am and what I do, which was a very refreshing difference from Dubai, where certain PRs would just invite a random bunch of bloggers, without even caring to do the most basic research (such as reading the blogger’s About page) before reaching out. So Dubai PRs, if you’re reading along: Learn from the PRs over here and do your homework.