Last weekend we had dinner in Paris, France. Well, not technically. But it was the next best thing. It felt like we were there anyway.
We had dinner at my absolute favorite Paris bistro, in New York. It is called Le Canard Enchainé. If it sounds familiar, it also happens to be the name of a French newspaper. The chef, who graduated from the Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, and a few of the wait staff are from France. This is one of the reasons we like dining there. It feels like an authentic Paris bistro – complete with real French accents. Not just English spoken wis ze French assent. Real French, right from France, which is great for setting the ambiance as well as giving us some practice with our French language skills( which of course are not in the forefront being that studiamo l’italiano).
From the outside, this looks like a traditional bistro that you might find strolling in the St. Germain des Prés or Latin Quarter in Paris. Red awnings, blackboard menus, large windows complete with gold script lettering, flowers and of course, a tiny outside table.
The inside has a totally authentic French feel, complete with a dark wood bar, red brick walls, tiny white tablecloth covered tables with candles, burgundy and cream tiled floors and a mélange of French posters and black and white photos that don the walls. There is a piano in the main room, because on the weekends there is a piano bar. How fun! The night we went, there was a French music CD wafting through the air, which just added to the experience.
The menu is typical yet creative and there are always prix-fixe specials available. The night we dined, we had the $25 prix-fixe, which included a starter and main course. I enjoyed the French onion soup, which rivaled anything I have had in Paris. The cheese was thick and gooey, with just the right amount of browned broiled goodness topping it. Chris had the celery potato soup, which was the perfect velvety texture and delicious as well.
Our main courses were Beef Bourguignon, with a red wine sauce that made every taste bud in my mouth stand at attention and sing alleluia and beef that was so tender it melted in my mouth! I have never tasted a sauce so wine-y, beef-y and delicious! Chris had the mushroom truffle ravioli with brandy cream sauce. The ravioli were stuffed so nicely he felt like he was eating meat and the cream sauce was very rich, but not overwhelmingly so. We both agreed these were the perfect dishes for a cold winter’s night.
The wine – outstanding! I had a Bordeaux, which really complemented my beef and Chris had a Pinot Grigio. Both were more than reasonable at $9 and $7, respectively.
For dessert, we shared a classic tarte tatin, with caramel, well, somewhere. Not sure if it was baked in or added after…but it was certainly there. I hate to say this, but this was the BEST tarte tatin I have ever had. In Paris or otherwise. Yea, it was that good. No wonder they are Zagat rated and featured in the New York Times.
Every time we come here, we always have a great experience. In true French fashion, we are never rushed, our meal is served at a leisurely pace, the waitstaff is fun but professional, and you will have to ask for your bill. Better yet we get an authentic French meal, complete with French hosts and hostesses, at a reasonable price. A little slice of Paris, in downtown Kingston, without having to spend a small fortune on the airfare and fork over those falling dollars which are worth next to nothing in France now anyway.
What more can a true francophile, longing for Paris ask for? Well, maybe some more of that tarte tatin…to go!
Le Canard Enchainé
276 Fair Street
Kingston, NY 12540