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NYC French Bistrots


ieatfire
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jgould, just curious why scrap chez J.

good question deserves a good answer. the simple answer is that i will continue to visit when in the area, there just is no buzz. for example, times i have been there, i may have been the only one at the bar. last time, that was certainly true, & only 2 tables. her brother, who is a real lout, owns gascogne on 8th.

hard to sit at a bar & talk to yourself. there is a somewhat regular crowd, but quite insular, although very nice, but hard to figure when in attendance. the food i have had has been good, so no complaints. the wines are somewhat overpriced for what they are & my pet peeve, red wines way too warm - the french proprietor, jacqueline should know better. since she doesn't, i can only assume she only runs a restaurant without any real knowledge. i may be wrong, but that's my impression. there are other things, but too detailed to go into here.

bottom line - if i lived a block away, would go, from 2 blocks away, maybe, from uws, i can't figure out why.

initially, i "wanted" to believe this place was the bistro i have been in search of, but, after reflection, i have realized it is not.

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Very weird sort of off topic, five minutes after my last post I go in search of a match and find in the back of the drawer a pack of matches from Chez. J. Weird because I have not been in at least five years. Another point is there will truly never be an authentic bistro due to the fact that there is no smoking in any. I know this is a plus for some people, but alas it hurts the authenticity

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Very weird sort of off topic, five minutes after my last post I go in search of a match and find in the back of the drawer a pack of matches from Chez. J. Weird because I have not been in at least five years. Another point is there will truly never be an authentic bistro due to the fact that there is no smoking in any. I know this is a plus for some people, but alas it hurts the authenticity

m. hassett:

i could not agree with u more; however, there is a movement afoot in france that will ban smoking, a la ireland, ny, ca, etc...

so, i guess, we can now continue the quest for an "authentic-like" bistro in manhattan,

n'est-ce pas? :hmmm:

Edited by jgould (log)
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It would be nice to have an NYC Bistro survey along the lines of the pizza one, jgould what are your thoughts on Le Veau D'Or I have not been in a few months, the food is not great yet not bad, but it has ambiance.

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Although I haven't been in about two years, I have had many many truly wonderful meals at Tournesol in Long Island City. The food was always superb, and the people warm and wonderful.

Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

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It would be nice to have an NYC Bistro survey along the lines of the pizza one, jgould what are your thoughts on Le Veau D'Or I have not been in a few months, the food is not great yet not bad, but it has ambiance.

hi "X',

went twice to le veau, there will not be a 3rd time. old, musty, service mechanical, if at all. food is not so much in a time warp, which i happen to like, but freshness of ingredients, preparation leave a lot more to be desired. there have been others who see the "bistro" thru rose-tinted glasses, & i have no problem with nostalgia, but when it does not offer anything but, then its time... :sad:

would love to see a nyc bistro survey :cool:

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Although I haven't been in about two years, I have had many many truly wonderful meals at Tournesol in Long Island City.  The food was always superb, and the people warm and wonderful.

as u probably know, their manhattan outpost, le quinze, failed miserably due to average food, laissez faire service, disinterested owners, & their tv always tuned to a rugby game :rolleyes: . at least demarchelier on the UES, watch the french news @ 7pm on ch25.

&, as u state, "i haven't been (to tournesol) in about 2 (thx 'X') YRS" !!!

Edited by jgould (log)
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another "attempt":

UES: jacque's bistro

demarchelier - bistro

la tour - bistro

quatorze bis - bistro

alouette - UWS bistro

le singe vert - chelsea bistro

pastis - meatpacking brasserie -

le gigot - village bistro

balthazar - SoHo brasserie

jules - e. village bistro

la père pinard - LES bistro

Edited by jgould (log)
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Have you been to Cafe Loup, in GV? I think it's considered a neighborhood spot. If I recall correctly from our one dinner there a few years ago, it had that worn-around-the-edges look of a classic French bistro. Since I don't remember anything about what we ate and have not considered going back, I must have thought the food average at best. However, others must have a different opinion because it was very busy and, from what I gather, remains popular.

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Have you been to Cafe Loup, in GV?  I think it's considered a neighborhood spot.  If I recall correctly from our one dinner there a few years ago, it had that worn-around-the-edges look of a classic French bistro.  Since I don't remember anything about what we ate and have not considered going back, I must have thought the food average at best.  However, others must have a different opinion because it was very busy and, from what I gather, remains popular.

good example! i have been, but like u, haven't been in awhile. if memory serves me correct, i enjoyed the meal & the ambiance. time for a revisit.

thx

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another "attempt":

UES: jacque's bistro 

demarchelier - bistro

la tour - bistro

quatorze bis - bistro

alouette - UWS bistro

le singe vert - chelsea bistro

pastis - meatpacking brasserie -

le gigot - village bistro

balthazar - SoHo brasserie

jules - e. village bistro

la père pinard - LES bistro

adding cafe loup - village bistro

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another "attempt":

UES:

jacque's bistro 

la tour - bistro

quatorze bis - bistro

UWS:

alouette - bistro

Chelsea

le singe vert - bistro

Meatpacking District:

pastis - brasserie

Village:

le gigot - bistro

SoHo:

balthazar - brasserie

E. Village:

jules - bistro

LES:

la père pinard - bistro

adding cafe loup - village bistro

removing DeMarchelier - recent visit, no soap in men's bathroom, when told manager, he just shrugged his shoulders. UMMMMM, wonder where the kitchen help wash their hands after using the same bathroom the customers use.

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another "attempt":

UES:

jacque's brasserie on 85th, e. of 3rd - although "technically" it's a bistro 

la tour - bistro on 3rd nr 75th

quatorze bis - bistro on 79th bet 2nd & 1st - #1

UWS: a wasteland, & i live there  :sad:

Chelsea

le singe vert - bistro on 7th nr 20th - kinda yuppish, but ok

café de bruxelles - @ 13th & greenwich av, e. of 8th av -  belgium, but close

Meatpacking District:

pastis - brasserie -  how could one leave off???

Village:

manon -  bar à vins (fmrly le quinze, same owners, admit the rugby crap made no sense) on w. houston bet macdougal & sullivan.

SoHo:

balthazar - brasserie -  also, how could one leave off - #2

E. Village:

jules - bistro - questionable, but among the very many mediocre faux, cookie-cutter bistros, brasseries, restos in the e. village; its "ok", by default.  the zillion others in the e. village basically "suck". the owner also wants to expand his mini-empire! manhattan being overrun by this cookie-cutter mentality. if no one believes that - look no further than simon oren's tourdefrance groupo!

LES:

la père pinard - bistro - around corner from katz's -  the loud disco music & the arrogant "too cool" owners/entrepreneurs also looking to expand their vistas,  make this somewhat "iffy" for a list. basically, the same concept as the many faux "bistro-wantabes" in the e. village, but need a representative bistro from LES!

adding cafe loup - village bistro - OOPS, taking off, just not that bistro'ish, more americano. excellent example of a nyc self-described bistro without really being anything more than a typical neighborhood restaurant that happens to call itself a bistro.

removing DeMarchelier - recent visit, no soap in men's bathroom, when informed the moronic manager, he just shrugged his shoulders. UMMMMM, wonder where the kitchen help wash their hands after using the same bathroom the customers use.

guess i'm the only 1 that cares, but no problem; will just keep updating til i get it right :biggrin: see above for +'s & -'s

Edited by jgould (log)
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another "attempt":

UES:

jacque's brasserie on 85th, e. of 3rd - although "technically" it's a bistro 

la tour - bistro on 3rd nr 75th

quatorze bis - bistro on 79th bet 2nd & 1st - #1

UWS: a wasteland, & i live there  :sad:

Chelsea

le singe vert - bistro on 7th nr 20th - kinda yuppish, but ok

café de bruxelles - @ 13th & greenwich av, e. of 8th av -  belgium, but close

Meatpacking District:

pastis - brasserie -  how could one leave off???

Village:

manon -  bar à vins (fmrly le quinze, same owners, admit the rugby crap made no sense) on w. houston bet macdougal & sullivan.

SoHo:

balthazar - brasserie -  also, how could one leave off - #2

E. Village:

jules - bistro - questionable, but among the very many mediocre faux, cookie-cutter bistros, brasseries, restos in the e. village; its "ok", by default.  the zillion others in the e. village basically "suck". the owner also wants to expand his mini-empire! manhattan being overrun by this cookie-cutter mentality. if no one believes that - look no further than simon oren's tourdefrance groupo!

LES:

la père pinard - bistro - around corner from katz's -  the loud disco music & the arrogant "too cool" owners/entrepreneurs also looking to expand their vistas,  make this somewhat "iffy" for a list. basically, the same concept as the many faux "bistro-wantabes" in the e. village, but need a representative bistro from LES!

adding café loup - village bistro - OOPS, taking off, just not that bistro'ish, more americano. excellent example of a nyc self-described bistro without really being anything more than a typical neighborhood restaurant that happens to call itself a bistro.

removing DeMarchelier - recent visit, no soap in men's bathroom, when informed the moronic manager, he just shrugged his shoulders. UMMMMM, wonder where the kitchen help wash their hands after using the same bathroom the customers use.

guess i'm the only 1 that cares, but no problem; will just keep updating til i get it right :biggrin: see above for +'s & -'s

its tough keeping a living, breathing, work-in-process string alive when no one else is participating. whew! its difficult, but someone has to do it :wacko:

Edited by jgould (log)
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Attempting to come to your rescue.... :biggrin:

How about Rene Pujol? It's been around for 50 years. Same location in the Theater District. Second generation French family-owned. (Pierre au Tunnel, another Pujol family restaurant, closed a few months ago.) In my estimation, the food has been consistently excellent.

You might also want to consider Le Rivage. Acc. to the website, it's been on Restaurant Row since 1984 (took over the space that had housed the wonderful Le Chambertin) and is owned by the Denamiels, who previously owned Cafe du Soir, on the UES. Old-style bistro serving the classics.

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Attempting to come to your rescue....  :biggrin:

How about Rene Pujol?  It's been around for 50 years.  Same location in the Theater District.  Second generation French family-owned.  (Pierre au Tunnel, another Pujol family restaurant, closed a few months ago.)  In my estimation, the food has been consistently excellent.

You might also want to consider Le Rivage.  Acc. to the website, it's been on Restaurant Row since 1984 (took over the space that had housed the wonderful Le Chambertin) and is owned by the Denamiels, who previously owned Cafe du Soir, on the UES.  Old-style bistro serving the classics.

merci beaucoup!

rene pujol very good, but somewhat too theatre districtish, if u know what i mean, not the flavor or ambiance of the above, as to your others, thanks very much, keep them coming.

p.s. thx for the le rivage link. forgot, but after listening to their corny accordian music while viewing their website, i realized i have been there!!! sorry, & i do not mean to be rude, i can use all the help; however, le rivage is the typical crappy tired "restaurant row" rip-off that caters to the pre-theatre crowd (mostly older) , tourists, & service men looking for that "french" experience they don't get in south dakota. if i sound snobbish, i'm not. these places if good should survive, but there is not one of these little bistros in the area worth saving. times have changed, the french population has moved out, the restaurants have stayed hoping or waiting for godot. for classics, go to l'absinthe, more expensive, but compared to le rivage, worth every $ of the difference.

Edited by jgould (log)
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  • 1 month later...

Had my first dinner at L'Absinthe last week, and my first impression would put it at or near the top of the NYC French bistro list.

Lovely atmosphere, and a very fine rendition of some classic dishes. I had boudin followed by coq au vin. My dining companion had steak tartare. All of these were excellent, as were the warm choux pastry rolls brought upon our arrival. Dessert was a Grand Marnier souffle, which alone was worth the trip to the UES for me. Not many places still do proper soufflees to order (I used to go to La Cote Basque for them when the craving hit) and this one was the real thing. Finally, they brought some delicious house made chocolate truffles. They were so good that I asked the waiter to wrap the unfinished truffles for me, and was delighted to discover he had packed the box with quite a few more than were actually left on my table. :biggrin:

I'd guess that roughly 1/3 of the diners overheard on this particular night were speaking French, which added to overall vibe of the place. BTW, my dining companion is a native Parisian and believes L'Absinthe to be as good or better than any of the other "French" bistros she's tried in NYC.

The menu items were fairly expensive, but no more than similar UES competitors . My dining partner and I split an appetizer and dessert, and along with our two mains, coffee and a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau, the tab came to about $125.00 before tip.

Overall, a class act and about as authentic as I've had in NYC. The superb rolls and chocolate truffles were welcome extra touches I've not encountered at other French bistros in NYC.

Highly recommended. I will definitely return to try some of their other dishes.

Edited by Felonius (log)
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  • 4 months later...

No thread specifically dealing with Maison, but since I figured that anybody considering dining there might find this thread I'm posting to it, basically as a public service.

We ended up there last Sunday for lunch prior to a matinee show. I'd planned on going to Molly's, a bar/pub sort of place where I'd eaten last summer, but we were running short on time and I basically just plugged in our coordinates on OpenTable and came up with Maison. Clearly nothing fancy, but then we weren't up for fancy and they had breakfast-y sorts of things and that would work since we'd not had breakfast yet.

Husband had eggs Copenhagen which he described as acceptable but certainly not worth a second visit.

I, on the other hand, in one of those moments of gallic nostalgia which in retrospect seems so clearly misguided, chose a crepe. Said crepe was described as ham, cheese, and egg. When I ordered it I specifically asked about the egg: on top of the crepe and runny, not inside and scrambled or otherwise fully cooked.

So when said crepe arrived with a fully cooked egg plopped on top of it I was unhappy. Not unhappy enough to send it back, as our orders had taken quite a long time and we were in a time crunch, but still very unhappy. After sampling the crepe underneath I realized that no amount of runny eggy goodness was going to rescue it in any case, so just finished it and paid up.

It was, at least, a small serving.

Interestingly the crowd actually included a lot of French visitors or ex-pats. More gallic nostalgia, I suppose.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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No thread specifically dealing with Maison, but since I figured that anybody considering dining there might find this thread I'm posting to it, basically as a public service.

. . . .

I immediately clicked on the link and, as a Francophile with a Breton son-in-law, I wondered how this place escaped our notice. Their web site actually offers a few clues and your post explains the rest. In terms of food value, it's a risky neighborhood and I'd not be likely to wander in, but thanks for the warning.

I don't know why I see Frenchmen at the worst restaurants in NY. I suppose there are lots of reasons including a lack of culinary standards as well as nostalgia for home. I think we're slated to visit Balthazar in the coming weeks to join some Parisian relatives, but I understand that at least as much as it's a regular place for us to have brunch or dinner. Balthazar is also not as conveniently located to the theater district, but nevertheless requires booking in advance. In fact, being able to get a last minute reservation in NY is a warning sign. The major exceptions are ethnic restaurants and a place that features Rioja wine and Mediterranean tapas on its web site doesn't qualify as ethnically Breton.

NY can leave the impression it's a world class food city, but only if you've done the research and had time to make plans and reservations. In short, there never seems to be enough really good places to go around or meet the demand in any number of categories.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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  • 3 months later...
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