For a change of pace, last night my SO and I decided to try Cafe des Artistes. We figured that since it is closer to our place than Mimosa, which we like, it must be pretty good. Wrong.
I asked when making the reservation that I be seated inside (so it would be nonsmoking). We were seated outside, which was pretty full (no one was at that time inside). Given no one was smoking and there were no ashtrays in sight, I figured they must not allow smoking on the patio.
Service: not the best, but well-intentioned
Food: We started with oysters, which were just ok, with a glass of champagne. We then had 3 apps: heirloom tomato salad (a special), alsacian tart, and country pate. The pate was some of the worst I've had, the tomato salad was passable, but it needed cheese or at least good olive oil (it was served w/ beets and red cabbage - too dry). The tart (cheese, pancetta and onions) was actually pretty tasty.
[Side note: Just as these dishes arrived, the couple next to us lit up and smoked throughout the rest of our meal. The smoke traveled in a different direction, but it still interfered with our meal. I should have asked the host as I usually do when she took us outside, but they should also ASK me if it's ok and pay attention to reservation instructions.]
After an extremely long wait, the moules frites we ordered as our entree arrived. The mussels were small and seemed shriveled if that makes sense. The broth also had very little flavor. The frites -- one of the reason I love bistros/brasseries like Pastis, Mimosa, etc - were bland. Extremely bland. At least they were piping hot.
We skipped dessert. The tab was $118. I won't return. I guess based on the crowd it's a place you go for the "scene." My instincts told me that but I ignored them, figuring it was time to try it out. Wish I'd gone elsewhere! Hoping for charming place tonight w/ great food. Still deciding where...