Offbeat New York

Midtown Restaurant    

Papillon Bistro & Bar

22 East 54th Street
Phone: 212 754-9006

When people enter this handsome and warmly decorated restaurant they probably have no idea that the three owners of a French bistro are either Irish or Moroccan. Yes, it's seems unusual, but it works. The food a Papillon Bistro & Bar is continental with French overtones and the beer is Guinness (as well as other brands). The general manager, Mohamed Hafid Elbroji, is the charming Moroccan part of the trio. Tony Shek presides over the kitchen as the chef de cuisine.

The eclectic menu includes dishes such as a roasted half of a free-range chicken with mashed potatoes and sauteed spinach, moules frite mariniere with white wine and herbs or provencale, and penne with chorizo sausage and broccoli rabe. Their grilled Norweigian salmon served with braised fennel, leek and thyme was fresh and delicious. The roast Long Island duck breast served with cranberry, apple and pear relish was also excellent -- gently smoked and tender. Add a side of their hot and perfectly fried pommes frites which comes with a delicate mayonnaise-based dip. Or, have it as a starter. And speaking of starters, the watercress, endive and pear salad with walnuts, delicately dressed to bring out the flavors, was a hit as well.

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