A number of readers have asked what is served for the Monday night $25 prix fixe tasting menu at Bistro St. Marks in Park Slope. Additionally, a number of people have had comments about the service, and I will try to address them to (forgive me, I'm new to the board and am a bit long-winded).
First of all, tasting menu is a misnomer - these are full on courses. I've never felt like I got my money's worth as much as I did at this meal.
1st course: cold appetizer
oysters on the half shell
fois gras terrine with asparagus and baby greens in a truffle/garlic oil sauce
Had the fois gras terrine - simply fantastic. Creamy, dense, went perfectly with the truffle flavor of the asparagus and greens (baby arugala?)
2nd course: hot appetizer
grilled French sardines
Sauteed duck breast
French sardines were very tasty and quite large (~6" long each). Well cooked, served with a vegetable on the side which I forgot, but it was also good.
3rd course: main course
Braised beef cheeks with mashed potatoes
Swordfish steaks with mashed potatoes
Both were served on a bed of mashed potatoes, beef cheeks served with boiled baby carrots. The beef cheeks were perfect, tender and moist. The sauce was terrific, a creamy but not overpowering horseradish sauce. My girfriend stated that the swordfish was "excellent" and it appeared to have either a dill or cilantro sauce with it.
4th course: dessert
Sliced figs with brie cheese
Berries and cream
Figs and brie were good, not great. The brie was a little on the strong side for a brie, much more like the taste of Explorateur, without the quality. It paired well with the figs, but was too overpowering.
Wine list is very reasonable with most wines being in the $24-28 range. Had a Chateau Ducasse white Bordeaux 2000, very nice. It was kept at the bar on ice as many have noted, but our glasses never reached the bottom.
It was very, well, French-American bistro. Slow but courteous. The entire meal took just under two hours, but we weren't in any rush and the courses are big enough to warrant a little digestion in between. Bread delivered at the beginning, opted for Bloomberg's best without being pushed towards bottled waters, all in all very nice, except one of the servers (different than the waiter) brought us the second course twice, but apologized profusely. At the end, we were given a miniature chocolate soufflee w/ pistachio ice cream on the house, for no apparent reason but who can turn down chocolate?
THE VERDICT? $95 for two, including tax, tip, and bottle of wine? So worth it. Manhattan restaurants would charge $20 pp more and still not offer the quality food and serving sizes as this. It will become a Monday night staple in the near future.