BlackSesame and I always try and find interesting and good meal deals so we can try out restaurants that we may not usually go to. this time, i had purchased a Travelzoo voucher for Mon Petit Cafe, which is a small french bistro. i mistakenly thought it was located downtown (as so many small french bistros are), but turns out it was located in midtown east, which was super convenient for me to get to after work.
when i arrived, there were mylar balloons decorating the restaurant. apparently they were celebrating their 30th anniversary and was serving their original 1984 menu, along with their regular menu. due to the voucher, i didn't get to see their original menu, but it was a great concept.
the restaurant is tiny and can get cramped very quickly, but that can sometimes be the charm of a bistro. the service was generally good, although there was a significant lag time in the arrival of our appetizers, although we had ordered before other tables that had received theirs. this hiccup aside, the service had a very homey, neighborhood feel to it.
BS and i shared appetizers of the Tartar de Thon (tuna tartar)($16) and the Escargots Maison (unshelled snails in garlic butter and Pernod) ($13). the tuna tartar was light and refreshing, with a sweet balsamic undertone. the 3 ridge chips served with it were soft and stale, so i recommend skipping those. the escargot was served piping hot, as BS quickly found out, and was very rich and savory from the garlic butter. both were good, but not particularly memorable.
for entrees, BS ordered the Hachis Parmentier de Canard (pulled duck confit with two root mashed potatoes) ($27). BS was pleasantly surprised when he found out that the 2 root mashed potatoes were regular white potatoes and a sweet potato mash. the duck is served in 2 ways, one with the regular mash and cheese on top and the other with the duck atop the mashed sweet potato. it offers a nice contrast of flavor, and, if you didn't know the dish was to be served that way, a very nice palate surprise. the duck was also very tender and aptly described as pulled duck confit. the only thing i would note is that as an entree, this could be considered a little heavy, and the sweetness of the duck's flavor may become overwhelming over time.
i ordered the Steak Frites (grilled NY Strip Steak with a choice of sauce and fries)($30) and opted for the bearnaise sauce (go big=go fat for me). this ended up being very very good. the steak was cooked perfectly medium rare and was the right amount of tenderness. the bearnaise sauce was served on the side, which allowed me to choose exactly how much, or how little, i wanted with my steak and fries. the fries came unsalted, but that was easily remedied by the small salt shaker available on the table. overall, this was the surprising hit of the night for me. usually, Steak Frites can be throw-away french bistro fare, done acceptably, but not well. Mon Petit Cafe did this dish very well.
all in all, including the bottle of wine, this was a very good deal for the meal we received. we both left with a fully satisfied, which doesn't always happen, unfortunately. and if ever in the neighborhood, and feeling a little french, i would consider dropping in for meal.