Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Cosette, a French Bistro in Murray Hill

After an appointment today, I headed over to Cosette on 33rd between Lex and 3rd. I saw an article about it in one of the free subway papers, and remembered it was on my list of places to hit when we stayed in the city last Thanksgiving on our research trip. We didn't eat there then, but I did today and wow, quite nice :)

Cosette is a tiny neighborhood restaurant with all of 13 tables in a space about the size of 2 of my living rooms. It's very cozy, but comfortable and pretty. The brick fireplace, raw hewn timbers and rag rolled paint on the walls, along with the copper bar/wait station and short corner to hang coats reminds me of some of my favorite places in Portsmouth. I wanted to take a picture, but I thought the other diners wouldn't appreciate my flash.

I sat at a small table near the door and the service station. Initially I was thinking it would not be a great spot, but it turned out to be perfect. I had a great view of the dining room, and I could listen in on the server's conversations. Each time they answered the phone they said "Bonjour!" That's it - I guess those who call know that this means they are calling Cosette's. The gentleman who ran the front of the house was assisted by his daughter (I heard her refer to him as Papa) and they worked the room well together.

Another reason I decided to come was that the paper noted they offer French Onion Soup. Ah - my quest continues!

Out of 5 stars:

Presentation = The usual brown onion soup crock was set in the over for long enough to nicely brown cheese over the soup. The first thing I noticed was the herby oniony yummy aroma of the soup - the cheese was browned but it didn't seal the bowl so the fabulous aroma was right there. The crock was set on a paper doily which was set on a small china plate - light blue with gold leaves. It looked like something I would see at ma taunt's home, or memere's. 5 *****

Broth Flavor = The broth was very complex, and fresh. Very different from other french onion soups we've tasted thus far, but very tasty. I would give it 5 stars if it had a little less salt. 4 ****

Bread/Crouton = The bread was toasted, and cripsy still in the soup. It could have been toasted just a little more, but very good. 3 ***

Onion Content = Lots of spoon sized onions which were caramelized to perfection. 5*****

Cost = $6 - Great price for such a cozy, intimate atmosphere. Note it's $7 at dinner, but still a great deal. 5*****

Total = 4.4 Stars

Now, I could have stopped at the soup, but I was too intrigued to leave just yet. I ordered the sole meuniere - a generous filet of white fish ever so slightly dusted with flour and sauteed in a lemon sauce - it was heavenly! The flavor was just amazing - lemon and wine and something that just made you go hmmmmm. Yes there was butter in the sauce too, but I mean hmmmm - what is that? Something extra special I can't put my finger on. The fish was served with a delicious ratatouille - more wonderful flavors, and then mashed potatoes which were rather bland. Honestly I didn't mind not even eating the potatoes as the serving of fish was so large. The entree was $12 at lunch, but I believe it is $19 at dinner.

I'm sure if Rick is with me some time when we are in the neighborhood, he'd enjoy this as much as I did.