Gramercy Park – Third Avenue between 19th and 20th Streets
Still a relative newcomer to Gramercy Park, the vibe at Le Petit Canard is intimate and cozily evocative of a Montparnasse bistro. It occupies the space long inhabited by the charming, if flagrantly overpriced Musette Bakery. The menu consists of traditional bistro fare, offering few surprises. Moderately priced, the entrees range between the eighteen to thirty dollar range. The portions are generous, the presentation lovely, but the execution is uneven.
For instance, on my most recent visit, my dinner guest and I started with mesclun salads. The greens were vibrant and crisp and coated in a creamy, balsamic dijon dressing. By contrast, the dinner rolls we were served were cold and hardened. My guest ordered the flounder dijonnaise. Light, fresh and tastefully seasoned, it was excellent and cost below $20.00. It stood in sharp contrast to my steak au poivre. Aglow in feast of red peppercorns, the steak seemed seductively appetizing. The olfactory character of the sauce was equally tantalizing, and I was poised to have a full-blown soiree for the senses. However, it was not to be. The meat was nervy and the frites were scrawny and blandish, but it was not so bad that it warranted being sent back.
The service was benevolently clumbsy at times, but was consistently polite and eager to please. Overall, Le Petit Canard is a friendly, cozy neighborhood bistro that delivers a pleasant, romantic night out. The coq au vin and the duck are recommendable, but stay away from the steak. In the warmer months it offers pleasant sidewalk dining space.