Went to Le Mangeoire (2nd b. 53&54th) last night on a recommendation for a middle of the road French bistro type place. 4 persons.
Preface: 2 of us are culinary school graduates although we dont work in the industry. 1 is a mom who cooks almost everyday and is talented. The other is a businessman who dines out every lunch and knows good food.
Price: $226 before tax and tip. Not bad considering we had two delicious bordeaux at 50/bottle.
I had the 'tasting menu': 5 courses... house made pate with toast as an app, seared sea scallops with a buerre blanc, duckbreast with a bordelaise, cheese plate (parmesan, chevre, roquefort), and profiteroles. 45$
The food was bland and unseasoned. There was absolutely nothing intersting about any of the dishes. I try and watch my blood pressure and I am certainly not a salt freak but I found myself adding salt and pepper to EVERY dish.
Particularly appalling was the soupe de poisson provencale... This is one of my childhood favorites and whenever I travel to Franceon business, and its cold out, I stop into the first brasserie I see for a quick bowl... The version here tasted like water with a bit of seafood stock thrown in for color. It really was a letdown.
Also, the butter content was ridiculous on some of the dishes and sauces. The four of us tasted each others food and agreed that the main flavor of many dishes (notably the mash, beurre blanc, sweet potato) was that of raw melted butter.
I was shocked that the place was packed, mostly with regulars. I often wonder if New Yorkers such as the ones who are regulars at a restaurant like this just dont know what good food tastes like. I dont consider myself a food snob but I have to have TASTE and FLAVOR wherever I go, whether its Polish food, Filipino food, Hungarian, a slice of Pizza, or French. This food had none.
The service: VERY ATTENTIVE. Nice, pleasant, knowledgeable waiter. And the owner came out and chatted with us as 3 out of 4 of us are fluent in French. He even comped 4 ports with dessert.
The woman that we dined with summed up the evening by stating, 'The highlight of this meal is that we dont have to do the dishes'. That was a pretty sad reflection on the food.