It's restaurant week in NYC again. This time in addition to the many restaurants featuring $20.01 three course lunches, many places were adding $30.01 dinners. We saw this offer later than usual and most of the places that my wife and I were interested in were already booked. However, Capsouto Freres has always interested us. It's located in Tribeca, one block from the Hudson River. Previously we had avoided this place because from what I understood it was an "old school" French bistro (which we love), but according to Zagat its prices were much more in line with "new School" thinking.
We took the subway down to Tribeca and stopped at Chambers Street Wineshop (just a few blocks from ground zero) to chat with Mike Morris, pick up a bottle of wine for the weekend, and to get something for this morning at Taylor's bakery next door. We hadn't been downtown since the September 11th tragedy. The first thing I noticed upon exiting the subway was that I felt an acrid burning at the back of my throat. I wondered if it was just much imagination, but Mike Morris told me that although it wasn't a bad day down there, it had been really bad last week.
Capsouto Freres is a large brick walled place in the hinterlands of Tribeca. The restaurant itself is very nice looking with a huge mirror behind the bar. We were seated at a corner table by the window. We were given menus, and when I opened mine up I was surprised by the prices. Appetizers ranged from $5-8 and entrees were $13-19. This was not what I expected at all. It's very, very cheap by NYC standards. Zagat's suggests $51pp with a drink and in my experience Zagat is consistently lowballing restaurant costs by about $20pp if not more. This was one of the reasons that I was interested in trying the $30.01 deal. I wonder if Capsouto Freres slashed their prices in light of the economic downturn and the events that are currently affecting NYC and the rest of the country.
Allison wanted some of the things on the prie fixe menu and I wanted some, but not all. Thus we decided to do a bit of mixing and matching. I had the Provencal Terrine, which I expected to be some sort of pate. It turned out to be a vegetable and goat cheese terrine that was very good. Allison started with the artichoke ragout. This was a classic dish of vegetables including turnips, carrots, and artichokes in a vegetable broth. It was also quite good, but very basic. I had the grilled quail with raspberry butter for an entrée. The quail was good, but not great. It was a bit boring and needed more of the raspberry butter than I would have liked. It was served over a bed of wild rice and arugula that was both skimpy in portion and fairly bland. Allison had the beef bourgonion for her entrée. It was better than my quail, but still not that great. The stewed beef and onions were served over the traditional egg noodles. For dessert we shared the banana profiteroles which were delicious.
I had a glass of the 98 Daniel Rion Bourgogne with my meal. It was a simply wine that was fine for the meal, but nothing more. The wine list is not bad, but as expected, a bit overpriced. Interestingly enough I saw a number of good bottles on the bar that werent offered on the list. There might be a reserve list or the regular list might need to be updated. It should be noted that the service was excellent.