WHO TO TAKE: SOMEONE WHO LOVES TO EXPERIENCE OLD-SCHOOL, COZY RESTAURANTS OR THE PAL WHO’S MISSING PARIS
For those craving a French immersion, you can’t get more authentique than this cute little bistro off Madison Avenue. We went for an early dinner, before a performance at The Carlyle, and it was a sweet, friendly segue into the upper east side from downtown NYC.
The menu here features the standards: Steak au Poivre, Patés, Tartares, Moules three ways. For entrees, expect to see an assortment of fish and meats with slight international twists. No substitutions! The food is much better than you think its going to be when it hits the table, but that’s the kind of surprise I like.
The space is very tight, but that is part of the charm. Expect to fall easily into a conversation with your neighbor and feel a part of the big table gathered for dinner and celebrating. If you sit along the back banquette, you might get the part of the bench whose springs are shot, but that’s the price you pay for this much charm! There are a few tables set up outside where guests were ready to brave the colder temperatures. (I guess it was their regular table and they were holding out till the bitter end.)
Started the night off with a well-made, fresh-tasting margarita. Right, the Crab Salad was superb, with very flavorful avocado and papaya on top of cucumbers and a creamy dressing. This is the best crab salad I’ve ever had—it’s a dish I would order again and again.
Bob started with the Belgian Endive, which arrived as an ample portion with pear, roquefort, and walnuts.
There’s a teeny bar set up in the corner, without seating, where the wines are on display. Right, the Halibut in Truffle Oil with sauteed zucchini and tomatoes.
I’m positioned right next to the bad spot on the banquette. For dinner I went with an appetizer, Duck Spring Rolls sitting in a little pool of ponzu sauce. What was especially nice about this dish was the flaky, croissant-like wrapping on the rolls. Nice twist.
A view of the room with windows facing onto 69th street. Right, the restaurant’s name alludes to the word clown, and in this case Charlie Chaplin’s character of the tramp, hence the bowler hat on the bar.
After dinner we headed up to The Carlyle to see Michael McDonald of Doobie Brothers fame—what a chic and intimate venue to hear that voice. Fantastic show.
Le Charlot, 19 E 69th St (betw Madison/Park Ave)