restaurants
Chat Noir
22 East 66th Street
212 794 2428

Packed to the gills like there's no other place to eat is this sixty seat French bistro. It's mostly La Goulue alum Suzanne Latapie's crowd with partner Quentin Danté making it run smooth as pie. (He last opened Noodle Bar as part of some 36 spots he's helped launch.) As such, the living room- like atmosphere starts at the door where if you don't know the staff, you would be in the minority of their diners. The Ladies Who Dine set, along with way too many hot French men, make up the staggering din at dinner (the acoustics are not great in the beautiful cream room, done up nicely with warm lighting and many mirrors.) Plates include a perfect branzino (not remotely oily and just enough salt and flavour), a scrumptious endive salade with choice bleu cheese, and succulent duck with baby vegetables. Desserts are a must (a pear Belle Helene is delicate and not overdone and the creme caramel is exactly the way we have it in France.) The only so-so to skip is the lamb. Superb wines and just enough French attitude (or maybe it's Upper East side attitude) top it all off.

$$$$

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