In his latest review, Times critic Pete Walls waxes poetic on the simple, assuming side-street French bistro, a dying breed of unfashionable restaurants with creme brulees and chipped china, he argues. He finds the same touches in chef Harold Moore’s West Village restaurant Bistro Pierre Lapin, which opened last spring. The critic gives it one star for its “rich, creamy, antique cooking.”
The butter- and cream-heavy menu is indulgent, with first course offerings like mushrooms in cream on a buttered and toasted pain de mie and another that’s just a ton of baked brie melted with dried figs and walnuts, served with a baguette. Of the mains, Wells writes:
There is a fairly classic coq au vin, not too winy-tasting; some hefty sea scallops under toasted almonds, sensibly outfitted with endive and citrus sections; and a grouping of gnocchi, foie gras, sautéed sweetbreads and mushrooms, black truffle shavings and puffy chicken dumplings, all milling around in a Cognac-flamed cream sauce. It sounds insanely overcrowded, but is very rewarding to unpack.
He continues that the menu runs overlong, yielding inconsistencies in quality. The black sea bass is dull, he writes, and he suggests cutting a third of the menu out. And whereas he finds charm in the unfussy nature of the food, he does not extend that same grace to the wine list, which he says is about four decades out of fashion. One star.