Union Square, NYC
Review by Diana
And if you remember your high school French, you learned that Les Françaises ate biftek avec pommes frites. That's about it ... so if one were to open a restaurant in New York that reflected what Americans like about French food, you can call it Steak Frites, because l'academie des francaises has no power in NYC, and thus even terms expunged from the French language -- like les fastfoods -- are heartily embraced with a bad accent and make us feel cute and snazzy!
Okay, a bit harsh, but c'mon! -- the place reeks of cheesiness in that francophile way. Steak Frites is built in a converted garage in a trendy part of Manhattan, half a block down from the square where the famous Greenmarket is held. The audience is people with good salaries who can't cook and college students on a special night (the NYU dorms are on Union Square, if you're a Felicityfan). The logo is a doodle of a cow in a striped shirt and beret with a cigarette dangling out of his ... whatever cows have that are similar to lips. You go inside and though the space is cavernous (as you'd expect a converted garage to be), there are banquettes everywhere, but where most places have this feature because of the narrowness of the space, this restaurant ends up creating them in the middle of the room. Um, that's called a "booth" and it makes this place like a set from Happy Days if someone else had won the war. There are murals on the yellow walls with rather shabby imitations of Toulouse-Lautrech styled paintings. At least, that's what I think it is ...
The entrecôte is pan-seared and served with skinny double-cooked fries for extra crispness and a sprig of watercress and a dollop of the Hollandaise-based Béarnaise. It's good, but for about $40 per person for lunch (including a salad and drink, and a small dessert -- bistro normally means nothing too fancy, which is not a bad thing!), a bit pricey for the experience.
Go for the quasi- pseudo-Parisienne-ness of the place, and for the art nouveau decorations. The food is good, don't get me wrong-o! But for food, there are other steakhouses.
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