The winter sun was shining and it was time for a lovely late lunch for a desperately needed catch-up and escape. We traveled across Park Avenue South and found ourselves in L’Express, a sweet little bistro that felt as if it was on an anonymous Parisian side street. The tables and chairs, the mirrors the colors, the tile, the menu, the everything… so French, so perfect for the midday rendez-vous.
The house duck pâté appetizer came with country toast, a spicy mound of mustard, tart and tangy cornichons, briny black olives, fresh tomato swirls, and soggy dressed lettuce. The extremely large triangles of pâté were mildly intimidating, a generous portion of luscious decadence. Each accoutrement gave the silky, fatty pâté a unique flavor, making different elements shine while cutting the heaviness.
Pretty onion soup garnished with a little green garnish was perfect to warm insides and make smiles. T he crouton dissolved in the small bowl, but the thick hot cheese stretched adding chew to the smooth broth that was studded with slinky onions.
A gorgeous shallow bowl held more pumpkin ravioli than predicted with a light broth and sage. Each pocket was pleasantly plump and bursting with fresh feelings of fall. The filling was seriously pumpkin, with all those flavors of the season— spicy, sweet things. The herbal sage brought out the earthiness of the pumpkin and added distance between the filling and pumpkin pie.
The steak frites rounded out the bistro experience. Char and grill marks drastically contrasted the warm pink meat longing for salt. A tiny dressed salad brightened the heavy meat and perfectly soggy fries, balance.
Despite its name and its hours, a lunch at L’Express could be leisurely. It was soulful and buttery, indulgent in a way that is almost effortless and quotidian—déjeuner.