The old-line bistro La Mangeoire has brought in a ringer, and hounds are on to him. He's Christian Delouvrier, who landed here after gigs at (among other places) the short-lived Secession and, back in the day, the four-starred Lespinasse.
Now, out of the spotlight, he's turning out French comfort food from Provence and beyond that is unexpectedly fine for a decades-old neighborhood place. JoanN was blown away by choucroute garni, a recent special that featured around six kinds of sausage plus oxtail, pork, and meaty fatback in a bounteous portion that could've served two. A crispy salt cod cake with basil, olives, tomatoes, and capers was also outstanding, she says.
Miss Needle reports a delicious pâté course, calf's liver with sage sauce and mashed potatoes, and seared scallops with pasta and lobster-lemongrass sauce. But several of these dishes, curiously, were undersalted. "Never had this issue at Lespinasse nor the vast majority of restaurants," she says.
La Mangeoire [Midtown East]
1008 Second Avenue (near E. 53rd Street), Manhattan