Saturday, February 19, 2005
BISTRO DU VENT
Bistro du Vent (212 239-3060) is a new restaurant in New York City on 42nd Street and 9th Avenue, just across the street from Theater Row, a collection of great off Broadway theaters, and next door to a convenient parking garage.
I selected the restaurant because it was so convenient to "Hurly Burly", the terrific revival of David Rabe's 1984 drama (with great performances by a great cast including Ethan Hawke and Parker Posey), because it is part of a group including Babbo and Esca, estimable restaurants which vouched for its pedigree, and because it advertises that it is open to 2:00 AM, making it a comfortable spot for after-theater food. (I hate it when the waiters grab your plate away because the restaurant wants to close at midnight.)
I selected it despite advice from people at the ticket booth at "Hurly Burly", who recommended The West Bank Cafe (212 695-6909)... "Oh, everyone from the show goes there..."
I wasn't disappointed with the Bistro. My steak was excellent, tender and with interesting flavor. Frites were thick but still crispy. The appetizers -- from a large selection -- were excellent. I enjoyed the desserts. Service was pleasant and efficient.
I do have a few suggestions. Now, these suggestions apply to a great many restaurants besides this one.
1- Serve sparking water (mineral water or club soda) in a different shaped glass from still water. Because, when the glasses are the same, there is going to be someone, about two thirds of the way through the meal, who is going to fill the half-empty glass of sparkling water with ice water from the pitcher.
2 - If you have a cheese platter, put it on the appetizer menu as well as the dessert menu. Especially after-theater. Cheese makes a good first (or only) course, and there is no reason to keep it hidden on the dessert menu until it is too late.
3 - Have a least one good, rich chocolate dessert.
And, especially for me, if your normal serving of espresso is only half the espresso cup (note: in this restaurant their espresso cup is actually larger than usual), make it easy to cut -- or extend -- the serving with some plain hot water. (Few people ever do this, but it provides the same caffeine -- no more, no less, with twice as much liquid.)
Note: This is not a restaurant review (which would require more research), but rather an eating anecdote. If you decide to visit, and I hope you will, please share your experience by adding a comment, below.
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