La Mirabelle (Upper West Side) - Nostalgic French Bistro
Okay, La Mirabelle (86th Street, a few doors south of the southwest corner of Columbus Ave.) is not going to skim off the customers from Alain Ducasse, but the other night, I was reminded again, that this old neighborhood favorite deserves to still be with us.
I like their newer location (for years they were closer to the Hudson River.) And the staff were as cheerful and obliging as I remembered them. Their high, overhead lighting could be more subdued, but the room itself is comfortable, with tables far enough apart that it would be tough to eavesdrop! The relative privacy, compared with other spots in the neighborhood, made it the perfect good spot for meeting with a visiting friend, whose year working in France, left her nostaglic for a touch of that old ambiance.
All my old bistro favorites remain on the menu. The veal kidneys, calves liver, steak frite, sole in lemon and butter, coq au vin, veal ragout, escargot, marinated leeks, cocquille St. Jacque, pate, etc. etc.
The food was very, very good. Though not 4-star- extraordinary, their tasty fresh ingredients made it well-worth a visit. Escargot was garlicky and in an appropriately oily, buttery sauce. Sweetbreads, not all that available in many restaurants, were superbly cooked. And the shared fresh raspberry tart very light and not too sweet.
If you live on the UWS or just visiting, La Mirabelle is the sort of old-style French bistro that brings back good memories. Definitely a good "local" to have in your 'hood.
Excellent post, Lynn. Although we do not get to La Mirabelle as often as we did when it was right around the corner, we still go there fairly often. I agree with your assessment of their sweetbreads -- they are so good that I took the time to figure out how to duplicate them at home. I also think their salad dressing is perfect.
Another point of interest is the artwork. It is, I believe, all the work of Danielle Rupert, one of the waitresses who also, on Christmas Eve, simgs Christmas carols!
re: J. Pine
I knew I left something out--the prices! Moderate by some standards--"high-moderate" by mine. Let's see--$8.50 for six escargot, $21 for sweetbreads, $16.50 (I think) for my friend's veal ragout. Desserts the same range as appetizers. For three people (3 appetizers, 3 main courses and 2 desserts plus 3 glasses of pinot griglia,) the cost was about $50 per person including tip and tax. I try not to think about how French bistro food used to be the perfect budget meal!
Does anyone remember La Champlaine (spelling?) in midtown many moons ago?