Yesterday was Bastille Day, the French National Day, celebrating the French Revolution (the Bastille was a fortress-prison where political prisoners were held by the royal government).
In France, it is marked by the following events:
- a ball. You typically have to wear something blue, something white and something red to represent the colors of the flag.
- a Military demonstration on the Champs Elysees in Paris.
So, we decided to go to a French restaurant to mark the occasion. It is not too difficult to find one as there are plenty in New York! But I wanted something new, with a menu that was French (I do not remember which one I saw that had mainly dishes you would find in American cuisine, such as eggs benedict and pancakes...with no typical French dishes). That is how we ended up at Felix. I did not realized that it was across the street from Taka Taka, the Japanese Cantina (understand Japanese / Mexican fusion).
The place was big with high ceilings, old French ads (ex: Dubo, Dubon, Dubonnet) and old wooden furnitures giving some authenticity to the place. The restaurant was fully opened to the street, giving the patrons full view, perfect for people watching. One thing that surprised me is that the music was not at all French, but more oldies.
The service was polite and pretty quick, except at the end...when asking for the check! At that point, the restaurant was fairly crowded, explaining maybe the slowness that we did not experience at the beginning.
For food, we went with traditional dishes. We started with the Escargots de Bourgogne.
It is normally 6 snails (I got 7), cooked in garlic and parsley butter. The plate was very hot and the snails bathed in butter! It was very good! I noticed that they added some shallots to the usual garlic and parsley. The sauce was delicious for some bread dipping...I was not disappointed!
The second dish was the Croque Monsieur.
It was served with a mesclun salad. This croque Monsieur was just ok: although I appreciated the quantity of cheese on top, the bechamel sauce was missing and the cheese should have been toasted to give a bit of crunch that even the bread did not provide. This was a miss and disappointing for..$17!
The last dish was the merguez.
Merguez is a spicy lamb sausage that you find in mediterranean cuisine. I love it on the grill, in a nice baguette with either some ketchup or honey mustard. Unfortunately, it is a bit difficult to find some in New York. At some point, Freshdirect was selling them!
So, the merguez, half the size I am used to, where served with French fries and a salad. They had a nice kick and were perfectly cooked (overcooked, they can become dry). I really liked the dish, however, I thought that it was not worth the $21 they charge for!
I had overall a good experience at Felix with some decent food. It is a bit overpriced for the food they serve. I am not sure I would go back if I were to eat French food; I would more end up at Cedric in Harlem or Marseille in Hell's Kitchen.
Enjoy (I did)!