Formule Express At Bistrot La Minette

The biggest occupational hazard of being a food writer is never getting back to those places you’re always meaning to get back to. (Art Etchells of Foobooz eloquently describes said occupational hazard here.) For us, La Minette was one of those places. We reviewed back in the fall, liked the buttercup-colored bistrot well enough, but haven’t been back since. Rectified. Chef Peter Woolsey’s $14 Formule Express lunch lured us back, a two-course deal if we’ve ever seen one. (There’s also a three-course option, Formule Dejeuner, for $19.) We still think Minette (not Parc) is the best-looking French bistro in town, and it’s only gotten prettier as Woolsey has added dual sidewalk patios flanking the entrance, as well as a charming, bee light-canopied courtyard where French movies are screened on Monday nights.

There’s no underestimating the sweet little details here, from the bundled washcloths in the opulent unisex bathroom to the glass Pernod Ricard flask filled with h2o for cutting—just a splash at a time—a measure of fragrant pastis. And there's more: slices of house-baked baguette sorted in a little tin tub; room-temp butter finished with good fleur de sel; silky house-made chocolates even when you skip dessert. Thus, Minette's $14 lunch special becomes something more. It sure doesn't hurt that the tomato tart was a perfect expression of summer: oven-dried fruit arrayed like petals inside flaky round pastry. It could have been heavy, but lots of thyme and chives and a lemony frisée salad kept each bite fresh and lively. The follow-up, a leg of duck confit, was a little salty in parts but beautifully cooked and posed over a simple assembly of creamy fingerlings and toothy, toothpick-slender haricots verts. The Formule Express includes a nonalcoholic drink, but don’t even try to kid yourself. When in France…
Photo: blogalicious


Peter Woolsey said...

The movie nights are every Monday night.

adam said...