Where Westchester Goes For French Cuisine
Bistro Parisien in Eastchester serves up French classics in an intimate country-chic setting.
Moules et frites
The menu at Bistro Parisien in Eastchester is straight out of a classic French cookbook, something Julia Child would be proud of. Butter and cream rule, and no one, thankfully, skimps on the melted cheese. It’s the type of place you want to run into on a chilly, rainy day to share a bottle of wine and some good food, which warms the soul and the belly at the same time.
Start out with the rich, melt-in-your-mouth terrine appetizer. Homemade chicken-liver mousse and country pâté are served with tangy mustard, cornichons, pickled pearl onions, and some greens. Spread the terrine over chewy, crusty, country-style bread for a carnivore’s delight. On the lighter side is the beet and endive salad. Sadly, the kitchen skimps on the beets; those few bites were so tender and sweet, but, despite the dearth of beets, the candied walnuts and crumbled blue cheese balance out the bitter endive sufficiently.
You’ll be washing these down with a bottle of wine from the limited, but reasonably priced, wine list. The Pinot Noir ($35) is dangerously drinkable; you’ll agree with me when you’re flush in the face and giggling at the servers’ jokes. The beer list is also limited, and you may find yourself with the last bottle of any particular variety in the whole place.
Moules et frites (mussels and fries) is, like everything else on the menu, a French bistro staple. At the bottom of the seemingly never-ending bowl (seriously, you’ll have to search to find it) is the creamy broth that the mussels are steamed in. Dip some bread, some fries—or anything, really—into that broth. You’re also going to want to dip those fries into the homemade mayo that comes with the dish. Have I mentioned this is not a place you’ll want to bring someone who is on a diet?
Adventure off the menu and order one of the specials. Whole trout in a bright lemon-butter sauce, paired with smooth basil potato purée and steamed veggies, was a delight. For those wary of a whole fish, it was deboned and beheaded upon arrival at the table.
Duck confit in a brown, sage-infused sauce, served with addictively simple roasted potatoes, was slightly salty but tender enough to break apart with a fork. The coq au vin, served over pasta with caramelized onions and vegetables, was rich and flavorful, but could easily have fed two people (or one very hungry one). Entrée portions are generous, and the staff is pleasantly attentive fbut not hovering, so you can dine without feeling rushed.
Ile flottante for dessert is a poached meringue in a tempting pool of crème anglaise
The dining room is small—11 tables in all—and décor hints at French country
A French meal without dessert? Don’t be silly. Crème brûlée is a one-stop shop for your sweet tooth; it’s creamy, crunchy, and sweet, with a distinct vanilla flavor. The apple tart Tatin, complete with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, is a safe choice, but the île flottante steals the show. A single poached meringue sits in a pool of crème anglaise, all topped with slivered almonds and powdered sugar. Sweet, yes, but also delicate and airy—the floating island is the best way to end a filling meal.
Décor at Bistro Parisien is shabby-chic, reminiscent of a living room in a French countryside home—carpeted floors, kitschy salt-and-pepper shakers, mismatched plates, and brightly painted tables—and it is impossible not to feel at home when you’re welcomed into the space, like you’ve known the staff for years and you’re just coming over for dinner. I can easily see myself becoming a regular; I noted several patrons were on a first-name basis with the servers.
The bistro is intimate—11 tables plus a few seats at the bar—but there is enough space to carry on a conversation comfortably without worrying that those dining at the table next to you are listening. It’s not a rowdy spot, either, so you won’t have to shout to be heard. Reservations are accepted, but generally unnecessary, and parking is plentiful in a lot next door.
Bistro Parisien has perfected comforting French bistro classics—it’s a no-frills spot (you’ll see neither foams nor spherification of molecular gastronomy fame here) that delivers consistently hearty (and delicious!) meals in a tranquil dining atmosphere.
Food 3/4 | Service 3.5/4 | Atmosphere 2.5/4 | Cost $$$
434 White Plains Rd, Eastchester | (914) 337-8447