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La Mangeoire

1008 Second Ave.
212-759-7086

Gerard Donato has recreated the kind of French country bistro he grew up in with his family in Antibes, and for 35 years has enjoyed welcoming his guests (mangeoire, means “manger,” a place to rest and eat) to the sidewalk terrace in summer or inside with its bright wall paintings and large vases of flowers. Renowned chef Christian Delouvrier, who worked in Michelin-starred restaurants here and in France, and consulted for Donato in the past, has now made this kitchen his home.

The traditional appetizers—such as French onion soup and mussels in white wine, crème fraiche and thyme—are perfect, and there’s a Grilled Baby Octopus with lemon and couscous that’s so tender you can cut it with a fork. Plats, or main courses, can be ordered in small or large portions, and the signature Coq au Vin and Braised Rabbit Leg also come family-style for the table. A wonderful entrée of Sautéed Wild Sea Bass with pearl onions, macaroni, and chanterelles becomes a perfect marriage of sea and earth with a delectable black-truffle broth. (You will want to mop up every last drop with your tasty rustic bread.) In summer, Chef Delouvrier provides more light fish and salad dishes such as the classic Salade Niçoise; and by omitting the cream and using a blender, he creates light, fresh, and beautiful soups with summer ingredients. 

Magnifique desserts include Coupe Gasconne, prune ice cream—made with Armagnac-marinated prunes and dressed with more Armangnac, a type of brandy from Gascony, which is also home to Delouvrier.  Monday to Thursday noon to 10pm; Friday to 10:30 pm; Saturday 5:30 to 10:30pm; Sunday 11am to 4pm and 5:30 to 9pm. -- Marian Betancourt

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