At the outset of this review of our experience, I will openly state that I think that Fricassee in Montclair sets the standards for the French bistro experience outside of NYC and France. Yesterday we were in the vicinity of Sophie's,which is located in Somerset, just outside of New Brunswick, and after reading a lot of good things about the place, we went for dinner. Things started off on a strong note (except that my reservation never got entered, but we got a table anyway). Bread was excellent, as was a salad with greens, blue cheese and walnuts--house dressing was applied with a welcome light touch. I ordered the cassoulet, which was also quite good, and came in a generous-sized portion which I could only finish half. My wife ordered the mussels in a Thai curry sauce--Sophie's is promoting a mussel festival right now, for $22.00, she got an app size portion of mussels that were about the size of pencil erasers. Sauce was delicious, and made a very flavorful broth, but I'm sorry, if a restaurant is going out of its way to promote a particular dish as a month-long special, it had better be special, and this fell short--by comparison, Fricassee serves a huge portion of gigantic mussels as part of its regular menu, so its not like there are not better ingredients available, and as the cost of mussels do not break the bank, a skimpy portion is downright unacceptable. For dessert I ordered blueberry clafoutis--the flan-like "crust" was pasty and flavorless, the vanilla ice cream generic. All in all, some hits, some misses that were serious enough that we will go back to Fricassee next time.