Just in time for Bastille Day, the irrepressible Bruno Berrebi has completely transformed his excellent restaurant, Moutarde, into a more casual bistro, Moutarde: Le Bistro de la Rue.
We’ve always loved Berrebi’s Fifth Avenue joint, so we were un petit concerned that the switcheroo would leave us underwhelmed. But we were just being neurotic. The menu retains some of our favorite “Moutarde classics,” such as mussels mariniere and hanger steak, while adding in an entirely new category: les poelees.
Chef Martial Poilbout fills these “silver pans” — a mainstay in French bistros — with a mini three-course meal. Standouts include seared scallops with butternut squash and zucchini, a grilled salmon on a bed of vegetables and a shrimp bouillabaisse with some nice, cheese-covered toast.
It’s a great value at $13.95.
Better still, is Berrebi himself. Always quick with the perfect wine recommendation and some bons mots about Sarkozy, Berrebi is the ultimate host, moving about the dining room like everyone’s best friend.
The newly designed interior — much less stuffy than before — even includes some cheeky wit on the wall next to the toilet (we won’t spoil the joke here, but check it out).
Also, don’t skip the homemade eclairs for dessert.
Moutarde: Le Bistro de la Rue [239 Fifth Ave. at Carroll Street, (718) 623-3600].