Of The Week
Celebrate The Season At Rouge French Bistro
Winter is the perfect season to visit Rouge, a cozy French bistro on Forest Hills’ restaurant row. It’s all in the details at Rouge, from the cozy banquettes lined with comfy pillows to the antique French art deco wall sconces that give off a romantic glow in which to dine. The wait staff is knowledgeable, friendly and very professional. For all the fine cuisine and service, though, prices are surprisingly reasonable. George Scott and Declan O’Reilly, the hosts, urge you to allow for plenty of time to enjoy a fabulous meal at Rouge. Chef Vincent Accardi, a graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, prepares all dishes to order, with all sauces finished just before the dishes they accompany are served. You are rewarded with a fine, European meal that, along with one of their fine wines from France or California, should be savored. Ask your waiter to suggest an appropriate vintage for the meal you choose. Flights of wine, samples of four different wines to complement each course, can be ordered.
To start, tiny bowls of olives are swiftly brought to your table along with a basket of crisp French bread. Appetizers include pan-seared foie gras (goose liver), served with caramelized fruit and toasted nuts. Escargots are one of my favorites, and Rouge serves six delicate snails in their shells, swimming in garlic and butter sauce ($8.95). French onion soup topped with bubbling Gruyere cheese and croutons is the real deal here. Fromage et Charcuterie pour deux, an assortment of fine French cheeses and sliced cold cuts for two, a dish prevalent in many French restaurants, is also a Rouge standard. Very fresh mussels were prepared the French way—-steamed with white wine, without garlic, but scented with shallots, herbs and white wine, and served with French bread ($8.95). They can be ordered as a first course or a generous entrée portion. Rouge’s salads, such as the endive and asparagus salad dressed with raspberry vinaigrette, topped with warm goat cheese and toasted almonds, are a treat as well.
Chef Accardi artfully prepares a seared duck breast with tangy cranberry peppercorn sauce. Accompanied by a crispy potato galette and wilted spinach, this meal is simply sublime. Braised short ribs of beef, cooked for hours so that the meat falls off the bone, served with a date reduction sauce that lends a sweet note to the rich meat, are accompanied by creamy garlic mashed potatoes and roasted root vegetables ($19.95). Juicy filet mignon au poivre encrusted with black peppercorns and finished with a cognac cream sauce is another excellent choice in meat. Rouge’s version of coq au vin is a dish of slowly stewed chicken thighs and legs in a rich sauce over egg noodles ($17.95). These are not the kind of meals you want to rush through, so plan to devote some quality time for your meal as Europeans do. For those who prefer seafood, I highly recommend Rouge’s pan-roasted monk fish with oyster mushrooms and a creamy white bean puree. Pan-roasted red snapper is served atop artichoke hearts and vegetables in a lemon wine broth. Pan-seared sea scallops derive much of their flavor from the delicious basil, bacon and cream sauce.Desserts prepared in the French manner are exquisitely rendered by the chef. Crème brulee and chocolate mousse are among my favorites, and you’ll not be disappointed when you taste these decadent creations. Gateau au chocolat Sompteuse is worth an extra hour on the Stair Master for its rich chocolate flavor and texture. You can also skip the sweets and finish your meal with an assortment of fine cheeses accompanied by an excellent sauterne.An affordable $29.95 prix fixe menu is offered Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. The one low price includes salad or soup, a tempting entrée, such as steak frites or filet of salmon, choice of dessert and a glass of wine to complement the meal. Rouge is also now open for lunch, serving some of their famous soups, salads and savory grilled sandwiches, such as smoked ham and Gruyere cheese with pommes frites ($8.95)—an even better reason to try Rouge French Bistro.Celebrate New Year’s Eve at Rouge, while there is still some space left in this petite restaurant. A special menu has been compiled that includes herb-crusted rack of lamb, lobster poached in butter and Cornish hen. Call right now to reserve a table. My mouth is watering as I relive the wonderful meal I experienced at Rouge French Bistro. I urge you to plan an entire evening around a visit so you can enjoy excellent food, wine and conversation with someone you love. Don’t forget about lunch, prix fixe dinner and New Year’s Eve dinner at Rouge, all with affordable prices.
Rouge French Bistro
107-02 70th Rd. Forest Hills