Le Moulin a Cafe: casual French Food on the Upper East Side
A solid neighborhood spot–friendly, reasonably priced, consistently good and with enough variety to keep things interesting–is always worth getting excited about, and Le Moulin a Cafe is no exception. Serving French food, Le Moulin opened this summer and just recently started serving a full dinner menu. Located on York Avenue near 77th Street (and right across from Glenwood’s historic Pavillion), Le Moulin a Cafe is lively and comfortable, open all day, with counter service up front (perfect for breakfast, lunch, or for one their terrific pastries and a coffee) and a cozy dining room in the back. In other words: French restaurants like Le Moulin is the type of place that every neighborhood wants, and that this Upper East Side neighborhood now has.
We have friends who swear by Le Moulin a Cafe’s French menu for lunch, (the Quiche, the Croque Monsieur, the Salad Nicoise), to-go or to-stay. This visit, we decided to sit in the warm, almost romantically-lit back room and sample the French cuisine on their dinner menu. Results were mixed, but still, Le Moulin a Cafe is the sort of French restaurant that we find ourselves returning to again and again.
Le Moulin’s menu is filled with French classics, and the Frisee aux Lardons was a terrific straight-forward version of that old bistro standard: the greens were crunchy and bitter; the poached egg runny; the generous sprinkling of bacon chunks smoky and chewy; the whole pile snappily dressed in a vinegary drizzle. A good start. Unfortunately, the kitchen really fell down with our entree, one of only three on the menu, and clearly not an area of their offerings into which we’ll be venturing a second time. Le Plat in question was a Demi Poulet Roti, a half chicken roasted until flavorless and parched-dry. The fries, too, tasted only of the ketchup with which they needed to be dunked. We ate about a third of this before giving up.
So skip those French entrees at Le Moulin restaurant, stick with the sandwiches, soups, and salads. Also the french desserts, which were all first-rate, especially the moist and buttery Praline Financier, as well as those bite-sized vanilla-y treats near the register up front with a bit of custard hidden inside. The staff at Le Moulin a Cafe are smiley and helpful, the prices easy to swallow, the music indie-light (Decemberists, Death Cab, Modest Mouse) and turned down low. A nice addition to the Yorkville community.