Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Mon Petit Café

Mon Petite Café logoYesterday, the Metropolitan Museum of Art re-opened part of the American Wing including the Charles Engelhard Court and all the period rooms. My loyal pal Natalie and I spent and hour or so wandering around looking at old favorites and new surprises. I spent most my time ogling in wonder at Tiffany glass tile. Perfection.
No outing with Natalie would be complete without a good supper. We were supposed to go to the David Burke Townhouse, a very posh 1930s space, but I was woefully underdressed. Instead, we ended up at another favorite bistro, Mon Petit Café. I used to go there frequently when the NYFOS series were held in the Danny Kaye theater at Hunter College. Once NYFOS moved to Merkin Hall, well... let's just say the UES is not really in my tax bracket. It was nice to get back to the bistro after many months. It was even better than I remembered it. Cozy, understated, an attentive staff, and perfectly prepared meals. Natalie, of course, was charmed. She thinks I'm some sort of bistro savant, when actually all I care for is a full belly.
Believe it or not, but Mon Petit Café is owned and operated by honest-to-goodness French people! It has been in the family for 24 years, and it shows. There is real attention to every detail from the country decor to the caramelization on the apple tart. Owner Alessandra Mac Carthy takes special care that every diner, from newbies to old timers, are given the VIP treatment. Mon Petit Café has updated all the French bistro classics and put a personal spin on the staples of a nation.
Hors-d'Oeuvres are dependable and whet the appetite. Mussels, snails and onion soup are rounded out with a smooth, delicious foie gras mousse, and an indulgent Camembert fondue served in a little cast iron skillet. I can recommend both. Entrées include a perfectly tender coq au vin, a really slow-cooked boeuf Bourguignon, and one of the best mushroom ravioli dishes I've ever been served.
Salade de Frisée aux LardonsTerrine de Campagne
I was able to convince Natalie not to get moules frites, for once; although she did begin the meal with her customary Kir cocktail. She started with a Salade de Frisée aux Lardons. The bacon pieces were generous and meaty, the egg perfect cooked. I had the Terrine de Campagne, a rustic pork pâté of just the right texture. It was spotted with crushed pepper corns within and came with plenty of toasted baguette and cornichons.
Côtes d'AgneauMagret de Canard au Coulis de Framboise
The Tuesday special was Côtes d'Agneau, or lamb chops. Natalie ordered medium-rare, and the hefty chops were served a textbook pink in the center. I wanted something in the same vein and spied the Magret de Canard au Coulis de Framboise, or roasted duck breast on the menu and just knew the chef was gonna hit it out of the park. Actually, I think it is their signature dish if such a thing is possible with their expertly realized menu. I too asked for medium-rare and the photo speaks for itself. The raspberry coulis acted as marriage counselor between foul and starch. D-licious, and curiously enough, a full belly!
Daily specials boardMon Petite Café interior
Mon Petit Café is located at the corner of 62nd and Lexington on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. They offer a breakfast, lunch and dinner menu. There is also a prix-fixe brunch menu on the weekend.
Thanks for taking the time, and bon appeptit! - Blog O. Food

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