After having read some decent reviews of Bistro Les Minots in Astoria, I was especially excited to try les moules frites (steamed mussels and fries) prepared by two French expatriates who recently opened their bistro on 30th Ave. I called my longtime friend from Indianapolis, now a neighbor here in Astoria, and asked if she would join me. Thank goodness I can report that, as usual, my time with her was completely enjoyable and a slice of home, because the only pleasant facet of lunch was having her sitting across from me.
Though I had placed a reservation, we were the only two diners during lunchtime. A dismal gray day outside, they didn't even turn on the lights in the dining room...
I would liken our meal most closely to what I can only assume would be similar to French hospital cafeteria food. I'll let the pictures do the talking... And yes, they were out of les moules frites. The shipment hadn't come this week.
La pissaladiere is described on the menu as a warm onion tart with anchovies and olives. Hayley lit up at the prospect, as this had been one of her favorite dishes during her visits to France. Her anticipation was abruptly extinguished. The menu should have read: tepid, soggy loaf topped with canned french onion soup, feverishly garnished by a five-year-old who was given a condiment bottle to practice drawing circles on the plate with balsamic and ectoplasm.
Next was the McEscargot breakfast biscuit. If you fancy brine-soaked gummy snails drenched in table wine and onions on a breakfast biscuit (the bottom half of which fervently suctioned to the plate) then I would highly recommend this dish. On the bright side, at least the toddler set loose with condiment bottles in the back got a little closer this time to the approximation of a circle.
The coq au vin was plated with overcooked noodles and canned mushrooms. We agreed this was the least offensive dish.
When the server/chef/owner removed our entrees, he exclaimed to Hayley that she was rude for not finishing her stuffed chicken, at which point I intervened. "It's not half as rude as the plastic still wrapped around her chicken..." Yes, there was a large chunk of plastic in her dish. Dear chef, we prefer our roulade without the poulet poncho, merci beaucoup (because it certainly trapped out any moisture whatsoever).
A duo of creme brulee arrived at the table next, which I could only describe as a sandbox of pudding. No exaggeration, after breaking through the caramelized shell, we had to shovel through 1/4 inch of raw sugar to reach the cool puddle of goop.
Check, s'il vous plait...
If you have read my previous entries, it is extremely rare that I can't find at least one redeeming element of a dining experience. But beyond my lovely lunch companion, this was complete disappointment. I'm even bitter that I wasted mobile minutes placing the reservation.