50 East 86th St (bet Madison & Park)
City: New York, NY
Phone: (212) 249-6300
Site: Visit the restaurant site
Cuisine: New American
2nd Cuisine: French
Area: East 80s
Entree Price: $25-30
Payment: Amex Visa Mastercard
The same complaints that American tourists tend to have about restaurants in Paris hold true for French bistro Demarchelier: the staff seems aloof at best, and food often takes a long time to finally make it to your table. But for the same reasons that people continue to eat out in Paris, Upper East Siders stay true to Demarchelier: the food is amazing, and with the right attitude on the part of the customer, so is the atmosphere.
In the end, it all comes down to approaching meals in the same way the French do: come to Demarchelier, and expect to spend the entire evening soaking up the coziness of the environment and the smells of delicious French fare. The staff is friendly but not overbearing; you may have to flag them down if you need something, but this is typical practice in France, and the great majority of the servers are French themselves.
And so is the food: bistro classics are done to perfection, like gratinéed onion soup (9.50), escargots (12.50), steak frites (22.75) and even Caen tripe (22.50) for the adventurous. Desserts are delicious across the board and include incredible renditions of tarte tatin (8.75) and crêpes Suzette (8.75), and meals can be accompanied by a glass or bottle of French wine.
One major plus for a restaurant with such a French attitude is the absence of angst for “turning tables” that plagues so many New York waiters. Once you've had a seat, you own your table for the evening; in France, this often makes for two- to three-hour dinners, talking and laughing with friends. So should it be, too, at this typical French bistro on the Upper East Side.
Review By: Emily Monaco