Cosette, Jan. 16, 2006

33rd St. (bet. Lexington and 3rd Ave.)

Danna was working late again so I went over for a quick, early dinner so that I could get home and do some work.

The place is rather charming. A table, candle, business cards, menu and a chair greet you outside. Once in, the tiny room seems impossibly busy...especially at 6:45 on a Monday. But part of that is due in part to the frenetic energy coming from the owner/proprieter/host/waiter and possibly his son, the other waiter. It is a bit dizzying and for maybe 40 seats (half of which were full) it seemed excessive.

The yellow ochrish walls are not much to look at but I have a thing for wood beams...which pepper the walls much to my liking.

What was noticeably lacking was a true french bistro smell. It was cozy (temp.) and it smelled pleasant I guess, but no discernable food smell. Not even onion soup or melting gruyere.

What wasn't lacking was your typical "hurry up and order" attitude from both the young man and the elder proprietor that you might expect from such a bistro. Asking for a wine list by the glass, and not able to see it (it was on a chalkboard behind me) was an affair in itself.

I ordered a glass of a Cote du Rhone (all red wines btg were $7), escargots ($8) and the cassoulet ($17 I think).

The escargots came out how I like them: slightly still sizzling (unlike the popping and overbubbling from La Petite Auberge). They were good and had a pleasant but not overly powerful garlic butter which I greatly enjoyed dipping the excellent bread into (the bread runs circles around the bread at both Park Bistro and LPA).

The cassoulet came out and I have to admit that first glance had me a bit concerned. It was a bit too liquidy - more soup than stew.

After having tried the cassoulet at Park Bistro, Artisanal and now Cosette within the last few months, I found this to be my least favorite though all were quite different.

The items that made the cassoulet were very good individually but the sum of the parts was not as good as it could be. It seemed like the cassoulet was either cooked a few hours ago and didn't have time to become one cohesive dish or the beans, duck, sausage, other sausage and pork belly were cooked on their own and added to the pot afterwards.

Not a bad reminded me of the version I had in Grenoble at a friend's family's house, just not great. It was homestyle, which, I suppose, is what it should some extent. The dish did get better as you ate cutting the meats helped bring flavor to the beans/soup.

I will definitely go back here. The menu is fairly priced and I can look past the harried service if only for the fact that there are only two people in the dining room.

In the end...this is the type of place I could see myself opening during my pre-retirement years after my other business has run its course.

Bon Appetit!


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