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Three and a half hours at a community board committee meeting deserved a reward, so we headed to L'Absinthe, on the next block. After reading the praise about the choucroute, I was proud to learn that it is no better than mine (except for the white garlic sausage, which was better here). That particular sausage is made in-house, while the rest come from Shaller and Weber, as mine do. Our other dish was a nicely juicy chunk of pork loin, glazed with quince, served with salsify and chestnuts -- more appropriate for November than April, but a fine farewell, I hope, to the cold weather.

 

Loved the room, which was practically empty at 10 p.m. on a Tuesday night. The portions were large. We took home the pork knuckle, some of the choucroute and about half the pork loin and will have a second fine dinner of leftovers.

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Three and a half hours at a community board committee meeting deserved a reward, so we headed to L'Absinthe, on the next block. After reading the praise about the choucroute, I was proud to learn tha

I had a spontaneous solo lunch today at L'Absinthe. I had never been.

 

I love the room. I had a charming French server who was happy to chat here and there. I love when a server knows just the right amount of solicitousness and conversation appropriate for a woman dining alone. Makes the whole experience so much more pleasant.

 

The baguette was crusty and good and served warm - from Tom Cat, I was told. Good butter too, but too cold to start.

 

Had a glass of a decent '03 CdP.

 

Started with: Cervelas Poche aux Truffes et Pistaches, accompagne d' une Salade Tiede de Pomme de Terre - (Homemade Poached Black Truffle Pistachio Garlic Sausage, Baby Gold Potato Salad). Disappointing dish overall. The sausage was nicely flavored, but overcooked and somewhat mealy. The casing was tough and was not removed, and since the sausage was sliced, the casing was basically strings that got caught in my teeth, so I had to remove all of it from each slice, which was a pain in the neck, causing most of the slices to crumble and fall apart. The potato salad was really just cubes of warm potato with barely a hint of dressing. Accompanying these was a small pile of microgreens, sitting on top of a little splash of dressing, which made no sense.

 

My main course was the antidote - one of the most perfectly prepared, luscious pieces of foie de veau I have ever had. Seared on the outisde, pink on the inside, flavorful, beautiful texture. Served with a cranberry and onion confit which was also very good - not too sweet, with a hint of nutmeg, nice balance of sweetness and acidity, and the jus from the liver had a hint of the cranberry in it. Served with serviceable, creamy mashed potatoes.

 

Dessert was baba au rhum, which I found too sweet for my taste, but it was well done - plenty of rum, the cake held up well, and the accompanying pastry cream was nice. Pretty good espresso.

 

They start serving choucroute this year in November - first week in every month. And pot au feu the third week of every month, also starting in November.

 

This is a real classic looking place. I loved the serving dishes. I definitely want to try more of the classic brasserie stuff on the menu - boudin noir, terrine of quail and foie gras, sole meuniere, poularde trufee, coq au vin, tete de veau sauce gribiche, etc. Rabbit looks interesting too. And plenty of shellfish, including whole torteau crab, periwinkles, whelks...

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The home-made cervelas is indeed a bit mealy. Rene Pujol does this dish better (probably using a bought sausage?). I think I had a good version at Le Perigord too - but Rene Pujol for sure.

 

I was disappointed by the choucroute, but that must be the winter before last.

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Just bringing this to the top so Steven will post on our meal yesterday...

You called my bluff. ;)

 

My first trip to L'Absinthe in over a year left me wondering why I hadn't returned sooner. I used to visit regularly and, with one exception, have never had a bad meal at this UES gem. And after our recent meal, it's officially back in the rotation.

 

Everything was good, including the massive choucroute, nicely seasoned steak tartare, perfect fries, and slightly underseasoned quail and foie terrine. But I was partial to my dishes--tete de veau sauce gribiche and sole meuniere.

 

The tete de veau--my first--was rich and gelatinious and paired very well with the caper-studded sauce. A few tasty braised leeks on the side, also complemented by a slightly acidic sauce. The sole meuniere was grand, as it should have been for $46. Dense, firm, and buttery, I could make a habit of this dish.

 

A simple '01 pinot noir from Trimbach was relatively food-friendly, if a bit tart. A good deal at $50. First time I've ever seen that wine, I think.

 

The restaurant features cassoulet the third week of every month through the winter.

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Hey, they put my favorite dish back on the menu. I too used to be a regular here, when I lived in midtown, and the tete de veau with leeks was one of my favorite dishes in the city. One reason I sort of dropped the place, other than moving downtown, was that they took the veal head off and replaced it with a fairly lame and too-dainty pig trotter preparation.

 

I am definitely down to revisit, even though - as I said - the choucroute didn't thrill me last time around. I suspect this is probably a better restaurant than La Goulue ;) .

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What a great menu. I see the tete de veau is available as an entree too. I remember very good boeuf aux carrottes and a poached chicken dish with some black truffles. Also, I don't know where else in the city you see whelks on the raw bar. Very French.

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The sole meuniere was grand, as it should have been for $46. Dense, firm, and buttery, I could make a habit of this dish.

I would have been surprised if they had charged any less.

 

Fresh Dover Sole, especially from France as opposed to Holland, tops twenty dollars per fish at the wholesale level. The Dutch is less and frozen is about half of that.

 

The price was fair.

 

FYI only. I like "L'absinthe" very much. Its menu shines at this time of year.

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The sole meuniere was grand, as it should have been for $46.  Dense, firm, and buttery, I could make a habit of this dish.

I would have been surprised if they had charged any less.

 

Fresh Dover Sole, especially from France as opposed to Holland, tops twenty dollars per fish at the wholesale level. The Dutch is less and frozen is about half of that.

 

The price was fair.

 

FYI only. I like "L'absinthe" very much. Its menu shines at this time of year.

I meant to ask where they sourced it as it struck me as the real deal. Nick, do you know if dover sole is available retail in these parts? I don't recall ever seeing anything other than lemon sole and various other soles, and I have no idea how they're related to Dover.

 

In addition to cassoulet during the third week of winter months, they feature a pot au feu during the first.

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The sole meuniere was grand, as it should have been for $46.  Dense, firm, and buttery, I could make a habit of this dish.

I would have been surprised if they had charged any less.

 

Fresh Dover Sole, especially from France as opposed to Holland, tops twenty dollars per fish at the wholesale level. The Dutch is less and frozen is about half of that.

 

The price was fair.

 

FYI only. I like "L'absinthe" very much. Its menu shines at this time of year.

I meant to ask where they sourced it as it struck me as the real deal. Nick, do you know if dover sole is available retail in these parts? I don't recall ever seeing anything other than lemon sole and various other soles, and I have no idea how they're related to Dover.

 

In addition to cassoulet during the third week of winter months, they feature a pot au feu during the first.

I'm sure you can get it at Citarella and the like.

 

The other soles are flounders and flukes each with varying degrees of delicay, but more closely referencing plaice then true Dover Sole.

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If you can't find it locally, Browne's Trading offers it at $29 for an appx 1 lb fish. I've never ordered it from them; after shipping it makes more sense to get it at 1 of the few restaurants in Boston that serve it..at $45 or so per order..seems to be the going rate.

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La Grenouille serves Dover sole with a mustard sauce and it's very good. It carries a $10.75 supplement on the $52 prix fixe lunch menu and is $38 a la carte. At dinner, $87.50 prix fixe, the supplement is the same and the a la carte price is $47.

 

I have had excellent Dover sole meuniere more than once at either Nicola's or Parma (same owners and very similar menus and I just don't recall). No idea of the price, since these restaurants are not really ones I would choose left to my own devices and my only trips have been when I am taken by a regular with a house account. I'll bet it's expensive, though--these places both have that reputation.

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  • 1 month later...

I took a short hop :blush: to 67th and Second for a holiday lunch with omni at L'Absinthe. As others have said, lovely space, terrific bread. Our waiter while perfectly fine was a bit lackadaisical but then the place was deserted, I suspect due to transit issues.

 

If I had bothered to look at this thread and specifically Steven's posts I would not have been so gobsmacked when the bill appeared listing my Dover sole at $46. But it was so damn good it was almost worth it. Just superlative, perfectly cooked with buttery juices and a crisp, gilded skin. I substituted spinach for the frites served with and it was delicious. I also snagged several of the terrific frites omni had with her moules. My starter, quail and foie en croute with a port gelee, was almost marvelous. It would have actually been marvelous if it hadn't been too cold. :rolleyes: Omni's tete de veau with leeks was great--I would return for that, although the steak tartare tempted me. Had two glasses of Paul Georg brut NV. The cannelles on the dessert menu sounded interesting, but I was too full so opted for a cappucino.

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