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good unpretentious French restaurant?

ssamantha Sep 1, 2006 05:31 PM

Looking for a good French restaurant to celebrate double birthdays. La Lunchonette is closed for the weekend, and that is the type of palce I'm looking for. Not fancy (bad weather expected) but definitely good authetic French food. Recommendations appreciated!

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    oldone RE: ssamantha Sep 1, 2006 05:56 PM

    I like Le Bateau Ivre or Montparnasse. Both are on 51st between 2nd and 3rd Ave. Small bistro style places.

    1 Reply
    1. re: oldone
      alex70 RE: oldone Sep 1, 2006 08:19 PM

      i would skip montparnasse and Le bateau Ivre. I have been to both recently and neither has good food. Le Bateau Ivre is by far a better atmosphere for a birthday. The atmosphere is fun but the food is at best mediocre

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      RGR RE: ssamantha Sep 1, 2006 06:14 PM

      Cosette, on 33rd St., b/t Lex & 3rd, is a small, cozy French bistro with nicely-prepared classic dishes.


      Gascogne, on 8th Av., b/t 17th & 18th Sts., has very good food, and the menu emphasizes dishes of that eponymous region in France. Unfortunately, the weather this weekend is probably not going to be conducive to sitting in their lovely back garden. But the interior is small, cozy and very charming.


      1 Reply
      1. re: RGR
        JoanN RE: RGR Sep 1, 2006 08:29 PM

        Second for Gascogne. Good food, good wine list, unprentious service, and most definitely worthwhile whether the back garden is available or non.

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        Peter Cherches RE: ssamantha Sep 1, 2006 06:22 PM

        For classic bistro fare I'm fond of Le Pere Pinard on the L.E.S. I sent a French family I know and they loved it. Totally unpretentious.


        1. Toot RE: ssamantha Sep 1, 2006 07:09 PM

          Le Refuge, on 82nd St. bet Lexington and 3rd aves. You can check the menu at menupages.com. It's a nice bistro, the room is very pleasant and I always see a bunch of French people eating there.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Toot
            G3B RE: Toot Dec 14, 2006 08:56 PM

            I was there last month and posted about it. It was OK, but nothing special that I would be in a rush to return.

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            alex70 RE: ssamantha Sep 1, 2006 08:21 PM

            you could also go to jubilee on 54st between second and third. The food is yummy, but the atmosphere is not that great (a bit sedate and on the older side)-very pleasant.

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              Pernod RE: ssamantha Sep 1, 2006 08:22 PM

              Le Gigot on Cornelia St. is great. Very tasty French food and cozy "authentic" vibe. I recommend it.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Pernod
                MMRuth RE: Pernod Sep 2, 2006 12:36 AM

                Love Le Gigot - but just got home from Pearl Oyster Bar and Le Gigot was closed - there was a hand written sign in the window - I suspect they might be closed for the weekend.

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                cricri7 RE: ssamantha Sep 1, 2006 08:31 PM

                Chez Lucien on 1st avenue near Houston is one of the best meals I've had in NY. It is not stuffy and is a cool french bistro. Some people don't like Jules on St-Mark's place but I liked it very much. It is not pretentious and not too expensive. There is live jazz also which makes for an interesting atmosphere.

                1 Reply
                1. re: cricri7
                  alex70 RE: cricri7 Sep 1, 2006 08:38 PM

                  I don't mean to be negative, but I ate there recently as well and was very dissappointed by the food. The atmosphere was really nice, but my steak au poivre was chewy and the sauce was flavorless.

                2. livetotravel RE: ssamantha Sep 1, 2006 10:10 PM

                  Unpretentious, charming, rustic, romantic and intimate with authentic French bistro food? La Boite en Bois on W.68th - one of the "quiet" gems in the city. The entrecote au poivre is great as is the roast chicken and the pot au feu de poisson.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: livetotravel
                    mimolette RE: livetotravel Sep 1, 2006 11:38 PM

                    We have been going there for years!

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                    billyeats RE: ssamantha Sep 1, 2006 10:49 PM

                    Another spot with underrated french bistro food is Cafe Charbon in the LES. It's at Orchard & Stanton.

                    1. csw RE: ssamantha Sep 2, 2006 12:09 AM

                      How about Village? I Had a wonderful meal there and the space is nice.
                      62 W 9th St, New York 10011
                      Btwn 5th & 6th Ave


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                        chung.william RE: ssamantha Sep 2, 2006 05:15 AM

                        Try "26 Seat" on Avenue B between 10th & 11th. www.26seats.com
                        Great little place...it only has...26 seats. Was just there tonight. Consistently good food at a reasonable price. Friendly staff. Mussels are excellent. French onion soup is also wonderful.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: chung.william
                          voice3 RE: chung.william Dec 4, 2006 06:46 PM

                          I had a very bad experience at 26 seats and will not go back. I made reservations a couple weeks before hand and when I showed up at the restaurant it was empty except for one other couple. However, the staff insisted on seating us at a shared table even though there were three two person tables empty. When we asked to move to another table, they refused. Those tables remained empty the entire time we were there. Talk about feeling like a second class citizen.

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                          foodluvngal RE: ssamantha Sep 2, 2006 01:30 PM

                          Has anyone been to La Petite Auberge lately? I used to go often - unpretentious, neighborhoody and very good, down-to-earth French fare. (Lexington, around 28th Street.)

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: foodluvngal
                            alex70 RE: foodluvngal Dec 14, 2006 10:17 PM

                            It really isnt great. the food is too heavy and service wasnt really great

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                            fschil RE: ssamantha Sep 2, 2006 02:58 PM

                            Cafe D'Alsace on upper east side, I haven't been there for a while but used to go to La Boeuf a la mode

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: fschil
                              MMRuth RE: fschil Sep 2, 2006 03:06 PM

                              Cafe D'Alsace has (sadly) deteriorated since it first opened - check recent posts before you consider going there.

                              1. re: fschil
                                RCC RE: fschil Sep 2, 2006 03:32 PM

                                We were at Cafe d'Alsace for dinner last week.

                                Our first time dining there and, so we don't know whether it deteriorated. Anyway, we weren't impressed at all with the frozen-dinner-picture-on-the-box-looking dishes and the very gimmicky beer service. Service was very spotty and inconsistent.

                                I wished I checked recent posts before we went.

                                1. re: fschil
                                  smarty RE: fschil Sep 2, 2006 10:43 PM

                                  We have been going to La Boeuf for over 30 years. It is where our daughter learned how to behave in a "grown up" restaurant and is still our place for big doings. Every time we go and drop a bundle elsewhere we wonder why we didn't go to La Boeuf. You absolutely get a wonderful meal (appetizer, soup/salad, entree with about 4 sides, and dessert, the chocolate mousse is not to be missed) for about $40 prix fixe. I know the rap is that the crowd is older; so what, you can hear your companions and enjoy the meal. Still one of the great bargains in the city.

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                                  baconstrip RE: ssamantha Sep 2, 2006 03:07 PM

                                  Fleur de Sel. Such a cozy place. Dinner can be very pricy, but the lunch deal is amazing.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: baconstrip
                                    livetotravel RE: baconstrip Sep 2, 2006 03:42 PM

                                    and what could be more charming then eating in a place where the chef/owner has his own art work hanging on the walls!

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                                    RCC RE: ssamantha Sep 2, 2006 03:37 PM

                                    We've only been to Brasserie LCB once, sometime early this year.

                                    The cassoulet is one of the better oned I've had in this country, my wife liked her steak frittes, and the place has that belle epoquish ambiance to it, complete with long white-aproned French waiters - I'm not sure whether you view this as "pretentious", but it's quite authentic in my view.

                                    Decent wine selection and pricing, too.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: RCC
                                      vinominer RE: RCC Dec 13, 2006 10:36 PM

                                      I went recently and was served nearly inedible food. I pposted on my experience recently.

                                    2. r
                                      Raflab RE: ssamantha Sep 2, 2006 07:11 PM

                                      Check out Jean Claude on Sullivan Street in SoHo. It's been there a while, and it's really tasty and not at all pretentious. Very chilled out for the neighborhood. Their scallop appetizer and skate entree are great.

                                      1. designerboy01 RE: ssamantha Sep 3, 2006 05:14 AM

                                        I recommend:

                                        Le Jardin Bistro
                                        25 Cleveland Pl
                                        New York, NY 10012
                                        (212) 343-9599

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                                          tsiblis RE: ssamantha Dec 4, 2006 09:34 PM

                                          From what you're saying, I'd suggest Jarnac in the West Village. It's small, cozy, great food, unpretentious and not loud. I hate Alsace, was okay with Le Gigot, but I think the downtown feel is closer to what you're looking for.

                                          1. m
                                            maria_nyc RE: ssamantha Dec 12, 2006 03:07 PM

                                            I agree with the poster who mentioned Boite en Bois on W.68th it's a great, old-fashioned French restaurant. Reservations here are de rigeur because the place is small.

                                            I would add Montrachet to the list.
                                            They're at 239 W Broadway (between Walker Street and North Moore Street)and it's a pretty low key place with very good food.


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                                              raybird RE: ssamantha Dec 13, 2006 04:20 PM

                                              i really like casimir in alphabet city and would recommend it. not pretentious.

                                              has anyone been lately? it's been a few years since i've been.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: raybird
                                                Brian S RE: raybird Dec 13, 2006 04:27 PM

                                                I used to go there often quite a few years ago. I walked by a few months ago (didn't eat) and it looked the same as ever, basically the same menu too.

                                                1. re: raybird
                                                  ssamantha RE: raybird Dec 14, 2006 08:06 PM

                                                  eh. I think it's slowly going downhill. Nothing remarkable. I ahve tried most of the restaurants recommended and don't feel any of teh food comes close to La Lunchonette.

                                                2. sing me a bar RE: ssamantha Dec 14, 2006 08:13 PM

                                                  La Luncheonette is my regular call. I just wish they had pommes frites. The fish dishes are especially good and the owners and servers are very nice. I like that the ambience is low key and not too precious.

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                                                    hopegoode RE: buonappetito7 Mar 2, 2009 08:10 AM

                                                    Had my birthday dinner at La Mirabelle on West. 86th Street. Recommend the duck preparation. Very warm homey atmosphere- ask for the special waitress to sing "Happy Birthday."

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: hopegoode
                                                      MMRuth RE: hopegoode Mar 2, 2009 08:14 AM

                                                      I have always wondered about this place, but hadn't yet eaten there. Years ago, I lived in that building, but I don't think the restaurant was there then. Any other dishes that you'd recommend - or suggest skipping?


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                                                      ashea9167 RE: ssamantha Mar 2, 2009 01:53 PM

                                                      I think Les Halles is great and always a good atmosphere

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: ashea9167
                                                        LeahBaila RE: ashea9167 Mar 3, 2009 04:11 AM

                                                        Though it's annoyingly loud, I agree with you. It gets bad press, but I really enjoyed my entire meal there.


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