La Lunchonette

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La Lunchonette
It seemed like a crazy idea in the late ’80s—serving real French food on a remote corner of Tenth Avenue—but this place did right by classics like cassoulet and cervelle (brains) in red-wine butter. When chef-owner Jean-François Fraysse opened Quercy in Brooklyn, however, the kitchen here lost some sharpness. Anything with the excellent creamy vinaigrette is still worth ordering, but on a recent night, the leek salad’s lentils were undercooked, and a perfectly seasoned foie gras terrine was overburdened by jellied fat. Meaty lamb sausage with sautéed apples was great, yet the potato-gratin side had spent too much time in the oven. There’s nothing wrong with the sumptuous chocolate cake, which arrives drowning in a pool of chocolate sauce.
Venue name: La Lunchonette
Address: 130 Tenth Ave at 18th St
New York
Opening hours: Mon–Fri 11:30am–3:30pm, 6–11pm; Sat noon–11pm; Sun noon–10:30pm
Transport: Subway: A, C, E to 14th St; L to Eighth Ave; 1 to 18th St
Price: Average main course: $20. AmEx, Disc, MC, V
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