Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Cafe des Artistes

We went to Cafe des Artistes at the beginning of the month (April 2nd) to celebrate getting our taxes done. Neil Gargiulo is a godsend.

James and Christine got us a gift certificate to the restaurant for Christmas.

We initially tried to use it on Valentine's Day. We don't like going out to eat on Valentine's Day, but we figured that we might as well since we had the gift certificate, and besides maybe we could just let go and not be Valentine's Day snobs for once. But they canceled the reservation we had. Something about not having my credit card or phone number. I don't know. Instead of giving them a hard time about it, I just took it as a sign. We aren't meant to go out on Valentine's Day.

But we were meant to have a romantic evening celebrating taxes. They seated us next to the bar room overlooking the rest of the restaurant. And they gave us a four person table so we could both sit on the banquette and people watch. But I decided to sit facing Mabel, and the mural. It just seems weird sitting side by side.

We ran into Penny and Heather from Pharmacology. They were taking out the seminar speaker, and sat the the table right next to us.

We ordered some cocktails to start, and some oysters. The oysters were really plump but mild. Mabel was super impressed by their plumpness. She wanted to finish her cocktail and get a glass of wine, so she took a really long sip which made it look like she was downing the whole thing in one drink (though she wasn't). Five seconds later our waiter asked if everything was okay.

She got Scallops and I got Pot au Feu.

I've been looking forward to this Pot au Feu ever since I looked at the menu in December. I'd never had it before, and it sounded awesome, various boiled meats and vegetables with a marrow bone.

It was very good, and there was enough for 2 or maybe 3 people to eat. But the awesomest thing about it was that they gave me a marrow spoon for the bone!

It was so cool that I wanted to steal it. I'd heard that the defunct Alain Ducasse at the Essex House had a problem with people stealing their esoteric silverware, and I couldn't understand why anyone would do that. But of course now I do. I didn't want to take any pictures in the restaurant during this dinner, but I couldn't help myself. It beats stealing.

All I could make out was that it was from Sheffield, England. And it looked like silver. And it was old.

When I got back home, I looked it up on eBay. I found one that was similar, though not silver, and bid $20. I lost. It eventually sold for $70.

I found this cool New York Times article from 1982 talking about marrow spoons and where to get them.

Anyway, we finished our dinner with a ridiculous amount of dessert. We got the dessert sampler, which we thought would be little pieces of different kinds of cake. But it turned out to be large pieces of 4 or 5 different cakes and pies with a centerpiece of fruit and whipped cream. We ended up eating about a quarter of it and had some for breakfast the next day. It's funny how some desserts can become breakfast.

Cafe des Artistes has great atmosphere, great flowers, and great murals. The food is good, but the real draw is the atmosphere and friendly service.

Cafe des Artistes
1 W 67th St (near Central Park West)
New York, NY 10023
(212) 877-3500

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