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Escargots are served topped with a puff pastry

Escargots are served topped with a puff pastry at Bar Frites in Greenvale. The new French bistro is located inside Wheatley Plaza Shopping Center. (May 20, 2010) Credit: Photo by Jason Andrew

Fauxthenticity unbound, Bar Frites playfully dresses up the Boulevard du Nord.

Situated between Funky Monkey and Sneakerology in the Wheatley Plaza shopping center on Northern Boulevard is this long-anticipated restaging and send-up of bistro and brasserie.

Reinventing them with an American accent is the current French revolution on Long Island. Today, pulsating Bar Frites is the most crowded. It's Bastille Day - all week.

The Poll brothers, of Toku and Cipollini in Manhasset and Bryant & Cooper in Roslyn, know how to fashion an image, and Bar Frites looks the part.

Handsomely antiqued, smoky mirrors announce menus and drinks. Kronenbourg and Stella Artois flow at the bar, where a Taittinger bowl holds wine bottles on ice. Sparkling water: Badoit.

But it's not all Gaul. ESPN is on the TVs, Motown blasts in the background, and Bryant & Cooper's sauce stands ready for your steak frites. A Napanook crate holds napkins; an Opus One, loaves of bread, for French-American alliances.

Except for the busy credit-card computer, it could be a movie set, with marble-top tables, bentwood chairs, evocative tilework, glowing lights and brasserie-style plateaus of shellfish.


Befitting provenance: excellent steak tartare, strip steak frites, filet mignon au poivre, flaky braised short ribs; plus juicy, pan-roasted chicken and seared duck breast and confit of leg. There's fine, pan-seared halibut, too; and a rich, husky version of the croque monsieur sandwich. Satisfying appetizers include escargots capped with puff-pastry "shells" in a dimpled plate with parsley-garlic butter; frisee aux lardons, and beet salad with goat cheese; a hefty "macaroni gratin" with ham, Gruyère and Emmentaler. Finales include professional crème brûlée and profiteroles.


Near-bland brandade that's more potato than salt cod; very mild onion soup; standard fried calamari; forgettable charcuterie; overcooked apple and lemon-meringue tarts; routine chocolate mousse; modest, partly French cheese plate.

THE BOTTOM LINE French-American fun

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