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Little French Bistro for Steak Frites

My birthday is tomorrow and my wife and I want to go someplace where I can get a great steak frites and a small bistro ambiance. I did a search and came up with Artisanal, Balthazar, and thor. None of these have that small bistro feel, that I can think of. I love the French Diner, but I don't beleive they have steak frites and maybe I don't want something THAT small. Trying to stay at the 17-25 dollar an entree price range.

Live in LES, literally next to thor, but willing to travel a little ways.


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  1. I would recommend Jacques Brasserie on the UES (86th Street). Les Halles also has (well, I haven't been in year) good steak frite. For a little french feel, I love Cosette on 33rd street in murray hill, but not sure they have stieak frites.

    8 Replies
    1. re: offthebeatenpath1

      Jacques might be a little far, but Cosette looks nice. Thanks. I've never been a fan of Les Halles, sadly as I enjoy watching Anthony Bourdain.

      As a bonus question, does anybody know of a BYOB steak frites place?

      1. re: eternalX

        What about Raoul's - though I've not been for ages, and don't think they are BYOB.

        1. re: eternalX

          Le Halles is incredible; highly reccomended.

          1. re: kcijones001

            i recommend LES HALLES too, but with qualifications. go on off hours only and order anything but the steak dishes -- seriously. then its very enjoyable.

            1. re: mrnyc

              Les Halles is a large brasserie, which means it does not fit eternalX's desire for a little French bistro. In addition, I think the food at Les Halles is mediocre at best.

              1. re: RGR

                yes and eternalx is aware of that and if you followed he/she did not care for LES HALLES, so that was in reply.

                sure there are reasons to not like the place, noise, tourists, and more, but i disagree about generalizing about the food so broadly.

                it's kind of odd, but almost everything is good there, except for the beef, which is consistantly bad. for example they always have rilletes, which are often hard to score. and its hard to mess up mergeuz sausage, fries & greens or escargot or other simple standards. in fact the cassoulet, choucroute and duck confit are always pretty terrific.

                1. re: mrnyc

                  Actually, when I posted, I had forgotten externalX's comment about not being a fan of Les Halles. So, even if you happen to like the food (except for the beef), why would you recommend to him a place that *he* clearly doesn't like?

        2. re: offthebeatenpath1

          We've been meaning to try Jacques (on 85th, I think).

        3. L' Express
          249 Park Ave S
          (212) 254-5858

          1. La Petite Auberge
            116 Lexington Ave, New York 10016
            Btwn 27th & 28th St
            Excellent service, good food. The prix fixe menu is an excellent value (pretty sure the steaks comes with fries).

            Le Petit Bistro
            258 W 15th St, New York 10011
            Btwn 7th & 8th Ave
            I love the fries at this place..but it's quite casual, it's more of a cafe. Service is good but can be slow..but the fries are worth it. And it definitely fit the criteria of small.

            2 Replies
            1. re: gnomatic

              It's been a few years since I've been, but La Petite Auberge is a good value. On the other hand, atmosphere is a bit dated.
              I live basically across the st. from Le Petit Bistro. Fries can be good, but the food and service are very uneven. Wouldn't recommend going out of your way by any means. I've never had the steak.

              1. re: Lucia

                We go quite regularly to La Petite Auberge. One of the things we really like about it is that the interior hasn't changed since it opened 31 years ago. It resembles a cozy inn in Brittany, which is where the owners came from. It has the reputation for catering to a more mature clientele, but lately, I've noticed that many younger diners have discovered the restaurant's quaint charms. Very dependable food, solidly prepared and extremely efficient service.


            2. I had steak frites at Bistro Les Amis in Soho (http://www.bistrolesamis.com/) and enjoyed it. The price is right too.

              1. Hey, eternalX,

                I definitely recommend Cosette. We've been there a quite a few times, most recently Sunday evening. Nothing fancy about the food but solidly prepared, generous portions, and very tasty. The hanger steak/frite is one of my favorites there. (The other is the "canard aux cerises," which is what I had on Sunday.)

                Service is efficient. The owner, who is usually there, can seem a teeny bit brusque but is really a good soul. The small space is cozy and charming, and the lights are kept romantically low.

                I don't know if they take reservations because, since it's in our neighborhood, we just walk in and have always managed to get a table immediately. (We've never been there prime time on a Saturday.) Give them a call, but if you can't reserve, my guess is you won't have much difficulty getting a table on a Thursday evening before a holiday weekend.


                Happy Birthday and Bon Appetit!

                3 Replies
                1. re: RGR

                  I couldn't agree more. Cosette is the closest thing that NYC has to a small parisian bistro.

                  1. re: RGR

                    I think that settles it. Have you had the au poivre too? is it a rich, cream sauce?

                    Also, I'm guessing it is not BYOB as there is no mention of it on the website, but neither is there a wine list.

                    1. re: eternalX

                      I've never had the au poivre. And you guessed correctly. It is not byo.

                  2. We also like Les Sans Culottes on Second Avenue @ 57th Street. Not BYOB, but decent carafes of inexpensive house wine, a prix fixe menu, and a huge assortment of charcuterie, pate and vegetables to start. We've rarely been disappointed.

                    1. A lot of French bistro in NYC (especialy UES) are mediocre (2 times the price you would pay in Paris and inferior quality). I noticed that the following spots : cafe d'Alsace (88th and Lex) and Bar Boulud (1900 Broadway) offers good food (including steak frites) decently priced.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: larryfr

                        While the steak/frites is very good, Cafe d'Alsace is not a *little* French bistro -- more like a fairly large and bustling brasserie,

                      2. You should really go to Tartine on the corner of 11th st and 4th street. The Steak Frites are in the 18-22 dollar range (depending on cut etc). Plus it's BYOB, with amazing out door seating, and very intimate (yes small but also very cute and on a great corner in the west village). There's no reservations and you will have to wait on a weekend night for a table outside, but it's totally worth it.

                        1. La Sirene on Broome. The hanger steak is excellent as well as everything else on the menu. Cash only and BYOB.

                          La Sirene
                          558 Broome Street, New York, NY 10013

                          1. Avoid "Les Halles". They are terrible! Not cozy and intimate at all. Terribly pretentious.

                            Also, "Tartine" is cute, but the food is very mediocre.

                            1. Le Gigot on Cornelia Street - may be a bit pricier than your range, but it's charming and very good.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Striver

                                I was also thinking of Le Gigot, definitely cozy and intimate. Maybe also lucien or casimir in the east village (although the food isnt as consistent i think at these joints, but isnt too pricey).

                              2. Tartine is byob...had a very good meal

                                1. I honestly have no idea how good the steak frites are at either, but Le Pere Pinard and Cafe Charbon are right by you, though I think Pinard serves roasted potatoes rather than frites.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Jorel

                                    I've had the steak/frites at Cafe Charbon. It's well-prepared and very tasty. The restaurant isn't small, but the ambiance is pleasant.

                                    1. re: RGR

                                      Although it doesn't have the small bistro "feel" you are looking for, the best Steak Frites I've ever enjoyed in NYC was at Balthazar. Good Luck.

                                  2. It's not actually French, but Nook on 9th ave and 50th serves up a great steak frites. The fries are fantastic. The menu is sort of standard bistro fare-- good tuna tartare, grilled salmon and chive mashed potatoes, lamb chops with sauteed red cabbage...

                                    The place is minuscule, and in the evening when the candles are on the table it has a lovely, warm charm. It's BYOB and cash only. Make a reservation because it can get packed, and being such a small place there is literally no place for you to go if you have to wait for a table.

                                    1. We got off to a late start and ended up at Cafe Charbon as it is just a couple blocks away and had a nice steak frites. Thanks for all the comments.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: eternalX

                                        eternal: Would you recommend Cafe Charbon? How was the atmosphere?