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Apr 9, 2007 08:28 AM

Belleville slipping?

We used to enjoy Belleville on 5th avenue in Park Slope. The last visit, however, was sub-par. Service was good, but the fish and duck we ordered were not good. Also, they only accept cash now, which also has me wondering.

Anyone have similar thoughts?

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  1. The original owners of Belleville were a consortium of French businessmen who owned several Manhattan French bistros (including Cassis, in the Financial District, a disaster on my two visits). At least one of these individuals left the group to move to the Washington, DC area. My impression was that he had the greatest influence on the conduct of the restaurant business, including quality control. I really haven't enjoyed a meal at Belleville since the year or so after it opened. There's no question in my mind that the place to go for French bistro cooking on Fifth Ave. is Cocotte. Neither Moutarde (another discussion, another time...has it also slipped through the years?) nor Belleville measure up. I know Cocotte has had some personnel change, but I've been there twice in the past three months and have been satisfied each time. If you want to travel a bit more afield, there's Ici and Jolie.

    1 Reply
    1. re: famdoc

      I disagree. Belleville is where my girlfriend and I always go when we want a reliable, low-key dinner. The fries are great, the steak tartare is excellent (extra chunky and sloppy with egg - I don't know if this is the way it is supposed to be, but my girlfriend and I love it), and there is always a table available. We've been there probably half a dozen times in the past three months, and have never had a bad experience.

    2. Was it always cash only? I wish that place would try a little better. It has so much potential.

      2 Replies
      1. re: pastoralia

        As far back as I can remember, they've always accepted either cash or Amex. No other credit cards.

        Don't go there that often, but went for brunch a few months ago and it was fine. Nothing fantastic, though.

        1. re: elecsheep9

          its definitely slipped over the years. i used to go quite regularly for brunch and occasionally for dinner. i stopped going for brunch because the service was just plain awful...comically bad. i stopped going to dinner because the food was slipping.

          i did like their steak it available on the buy 1 get 1 free menu? do they still offer that on mondays?

      2. just went there - they obviously dont care anymore - loud music, unattentive staff, mediocre food - its a beautiful space - too bad

        1. I had a very disappointing luch there last week. My oldest son had just "graduated" from middle school, so we thought we'd try Belleville for a celebration lunch. The pate was good, but everything else was mediocre (mussels, frites) or worse (cold asparagas soup was practically inedible).

          Not too much open for lunch in the Slope, but we would have better off anywhere else.

          1 Reply
          1. re: SlopePig

            I really think we're reaching a saturation point with regard to restaurants in Park Slope, particularly along Fifth Ave. Furthermore, I don't think it will be long before we start seeing some shuttering of the lower echelon of those restaurants. Following these threads, we now know that Belleville has slipped (I think it slipped more than two years ago), that JPan is a mixed bag, and that some are less than wowed by the new Italian place on Seventh Ave. and Tenth St. How long do you think it will be before we see some joints close down? Rents must be spectacular (I was recently looking for some commercial space on or near Fifth for a non-restaurant business and was quoted rents of $60-100 per sq. ft. When I expressed surprise, the broker told me that if I didn't take the space, Starbucks would) and, while growth continues unabated (soon, we'll see an influx of new residents of Fourth Ave.), I think many are exercising their right to be discriminating in how they spend their food money. As a long-time Slope resident who remembers when there were no quality restaurants in the neighborhood, what a long, strange trip it's been.

          2. You're right, my wife and I also believe Belleville has begun slipping a tad bit. First, they removed french fries from their brunch menu (home fries with a grilled ham and cheese sandwich doesn't quite cut it), and now the cash only thing... yet, somehow, they're still crowded most of the time. It is a great space, with plenty of children's options, I just wish they would get back to where they once were.