Fabulous French in Astoria

Mention the words “French cuisine” to some people and they recoil at the thought of buttoned-up waiters serving overpriced fare that is more unknown than appetizing.

Take those doubting diners to Bistro Les Minots in Astoria and they will say au revoir to those notions and reward you with many merci beaucoups.

Owner Henri Devedux opened his restaurant in March 2009 after building the entire interior, including the bar and the tables, by hand. He wanted the cozy establishment to resemble neighborhood bistros in France in design, taste and spirit.

“This is homemade French food in a social environment,” said Devedux. “People think French is sophisticated so it has to be expensive and formal; this is a misconception.”

Devedux’s French onion soup is obvious, yet extraordinary, a restaurant staple done right. La Soupe a la Oignon Gratinee is loaded with sweet onions swimming in a broth made from veal and beef stocks. The flavorful soup is topped in its crock by a baguette covered with melted browned Swiss cheese. Break through and enjoy.

Standing out among the appetizers is the Les Escargots de Bourgogne; these sautéed snails are served in a puff pastry in a remarkable red wine sauce.

Les Minots has three mussel dishes ranging from a white wine-based sauce to the more exotic Les Moules Marocaines – served in a tomato-based sauce with chick peas, spicy lamb sausage and Moroccan spices. Your palate will love these.

The entrees are all enticing, however Devedux recommends the duck confit. Le Confit de Canard aux Lentilles is made with duck legs covered in cranberry vinaigrette with a side of warm lentil salad. The way the duck is prepared is what makes this dish so unique and so delectable. The duck legs are marinated for over a day, and then poached in its own fat for eight hours. This process imparts such flavor into the duck that it will leave you positively daffy.

For dessert, Devedux brings out homemade crepes served with a warm apple and red wine filling. This sweet dish has an unexpectedly deep flavor and is completed with freshly made whipped cream frozen solid.

“We try to be unique; no tablecloths, no uniforms,” said Devedux. “You are not coming here for my outfit or decorations; you are coming here for the food.”

Ask the owner about their sing-alongs, art shows and movie screenings.

Bistro Les Minots

47-16 30th Avenue

Astoria, NY 11103

Telephone: 718-606-2535

Fax: 718-606-2739

Email: bistrolesminots@gmail.com

Web: www.bistrolesminots.com

Hours: Tuesday – Friday, 3 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Saturday, 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Sunday, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Prix Fixe Lunch: Tuesday – Friday, Noon – 4 p.m.

Prix Fixe Dinner: Tuesday – Sunday, 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Brunch: Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Live music every Sunday.

Free Delivery, $15 minimum.

All menus available for delivery

Extensive wine list

All major credit cards accepted

More from Around New York