Cuisine: All the warhorses of the French classical canon are here, from pâtés to pot au feu—carried off with consistency and a minimum of fuss.
Mood: Yes, it used to be a post office, and the wraparound glass windows don’t exactly bespeak the kind of bistro you can lose yourself in. But the inside, with buttery walls and art-deco posters, glows at night and the clatter of plates and rich smells emanating from the open kitchen feel right. The only thing missing: the Gallic hauteur.
Best for: Celebrating a special occasion for two for less than three digits.
Best dishes: Creamy chestnut soup with smoked bacon; country pâté and duck rillette; a poor man’s caviar of finely whipped roasted-eggplant mousse; hanger steak with caramelized shallots and red-wine sauce; braised rabbit legs over linguine; a fish pot au feu with clams, mussels, shrimp, and monkfish; floating island.
Insider tips: The nightly list of specials typically strays beyond the classics, with mixed results. Often the more conventional-sounding the dish, the better.