When My Baby Smiles At Me I Go To Bistro: Resto Leon

(I put great effort into that title. Who knows what song I’m parodying? Who among you, who? Hugh Jackman?)

Saturday night I called up my dear friend Diana and said: “Dear friend Diana, with whom are you dining tonight?” And dear friend Diana replied: “With no one, darling, shall we dine?”

It was then we decided to meet at school and sojourn somewhere snappy. I brought along Robert Sietsema’s “Best Ethnic Eating” guide and we honed in on page 87: East Village Bistros.

NYU is near the East Village so it was just a matter of which one. Sietsema gives two stars to Lucien and says it’s the best in the East Village (“this is the East Village’s best bistro,” he writes) but there is a $ symbol and Diana and I didn’t want to spend mucho dinero.

So we settled upon Resto Leon, Sietsema’s “former favorite East Village bistro.”

Here is Diana outside pointing up:

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Inside we were transported to Paris, or at least the East Village’s conception of Paris. It was really dark. The characters were quirky and colorful. Our waitress was non-existent. We sat for a long while before the front door flung open, a woman with a knit hat and a big jacket scuffled in, ran to the back, and quickly came to our table. Our waitress was late on the job!

But she tried really hard. And she had a lovely French accent—so much so that I couldn’t understand what she was trying to tell us about the wine list. Apprently they were out of “mumble jumble mumble” so I ordered a Syrah and Diana ordered a Muscadet. (Am I spelling that right? I hope I am.)

For an appetizer, Diana and I shared this awesome appetizer that is so simple you should go run now and make it at home: (Sorry for the glarey pic—it was really dark in there!)

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Basically, this is goat cheese on french bread that has been drizzled with honey and put in the oven (maybe under the broiler?) It was terrific. And the salad was perfectly dressed. This was the best part of the evening, food wise, so enjoy it.

Otherwise, my hanger steak wasn’t so good:

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Look how buttery it is! No wonder it’s so dark in there, health nuts like me would run away screaming if they saw that under bright light.

But even if you weren’t a health nut and gluttony was your middle name, this had no flavor! I think it was under seasoned. And the sauteed scallions added little. The salad, again, was great but I’d already had that with my appetizer. And the side of scalloped potatoes that came with it—which looked so naughty and exciting it could have had its own DVD informercial during a Howard Stern commercial break—was all bluster, no flavor. All talk: no action. Diana confirmed this and spent the rest of her time disappointed with her duck confit.

Oh well. The atmosphere was fun. The company made everything excusable. I do not regret going here. But I do regret going afterwards to Cold Stone Creamery—-Diana loves it there, but my “Cookie Doughnt You Want It” (or whatever it was called) was a sticky, gloppy, unappetizing mess. And how depressing it was when someone tipped the lady at the register so everyone behind the counter had to sing a song. Everyone in the store watched these women sadly. Don’t make women sing songs, Cold Stone! And season your meat and confit, Resto Leon!

Thank you.

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