Bistro La Source is a sweet little eatery on a corner in the Paulus Hook neighborhood, that transports its diners to Europe. The bistro is part of a small dining district boasting some of Jersey City’s other favorite dining establishments. The small restaurant has a little front bar lined with mirrors, recalling the French bistros of Paris, and dotted with fairy lights like the glittering of the Tour Eiffel.
The restaurant participated in Super Week to finish up Hudson Restaurant Week, with a three-course prix fixe at $25 and wine pairings for an additional $16. The atmosphere friendly, the food delicious, and the price amazing—it was the perfect end HudsonRW.
The small table had a simplicity that emanated an elegance that rests on the tip of the tongue. The little water glasses just big enough to hold three sips and the rustic bread and cool butter felt like laissez-faire. The dishes were just as effortless and delicious.
The escargot and chicken liver and foie gras mousse were casual but foreign at the same time. The textures and smells entice— buttery, luxurious, exotic and rich. The escargot were garlicky orbs, tender and hot, and chewy. The mousse, paired with a robust Bordeaux, was fluffy and decadent, perfect on the toasty baguette with the sweet tangy pickled onion and the grainy fig mustardo. It was meaty, heavy and light like a guilty pleasure. Even the thin broth laced with white wine, butter, and garlic, from the moules was flavorful and satiating. Appetizer portions were just enough to capture all the layers completely.
Pretty butternut squash agnolotti, paired with a sweet and wet Moscato, lined the long plate in a single row, each delicately overlapping its neighbor. The pool of beurre noisette was heavy with the warm flavors of sage and earthy grana padano cheese, but missing salt. Inside was a thick creamy light orange filling, close to a creamy sauce, with the faint color of butternut squash. However, the winter squash’s flavor was missing from the dish, but its sweetness swam in and out.
The Alsatian Choucroute Garnie entrée was a very different kind of dish, demonstrating a German heaviness and lacking the graceful refinement. The plate was laden with smoked bratwurst, pork loin bacon, and knockwurst, with potatoes, carrots and Reisling braised kraut. Each meat was salty and savory, but also merged perfectly with the tangy sweet kraut. This dish was weighty and round, with various textures and subtle flavor profiles.
Dessert was contained, simple and classic. The crème caramel had a slick texture but the custard tasted too eggy, interrupting the burned sugar caramel flavor. The apples in the Jersey apple crumble were not sweet, but soft and a little tart, and the cinnamon gelato smoothed. The chocolate mousse had rum inflections, but was dense, chocolaty with a few white chocolate disks and a dose of heavy whipped cream.
The food was absolutely delicious and the atmosphere was inviting. The menu items are constructed with care and high quality ingredients, while the service is direct and courteous. Bistro La Source is a little treat, a small gem creating comforting food that takes you away without going too far.