Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Pomme Cafe - Cozy but Food Left Something to be Desired

Pomme Cafe - 37-19 Broadway, Astoria NY 11103
N/W Train to Broadway

My curiosity has been killing me about Pomme Cafe, and after much rescheduling, Meg, Mackenzi and I finally checked it out for dinner.  While my initial impression was great--the space was very inviting--the food wasn't anything to brag home about.

From the minute I walked in, I liked the interior - a warm, cozy yet open space with a great bar area and plenty of eclectic seating.  Smaller tables for two or four line the perimeter of the restaurant, while larger, communal tables are found in the middle.  I like that the tables are spaced apart enough so you don't feel like you're sitting on top of anyone, or eavesdropping on a conversation.

The lighting is dim and the decor is sort of hodge-podgy - a variety of pictures and oversized mirrors deck the walls.  There's even a huge wall of wine towards the back, which I admired.  The clientele seems young and so does the staff, meaning that it's far from a stuffy French restaurant.  On the contrary, it's a cool and very approachable bistro.

Everything on the menu sounded excellent, offering a mix of classic French hors d'oeuvres, sandwiches, salads and warm entrees.  I saw a lot of my favorites including escargot, mussels, croque monsieur - so needless to say, I was excited.  However, while some of the dishes were good, others were forgettable and left something to be desired.

Artisanal Cheese Plate - Meg and I started with a nice assortment of artisanal cheeses, which included brie, blue cheese and goat cheese.  I loved the selection and it provided a perfect pairing with our full-bodied red wine.  The plate was dressed with fun accoutrements such as dried apricots, raspberries, dates, grapes and a crispy dark-bread crouton.  It was a generous serving for two people and we could've very well split it with a third. I was impressed and definitely recommend this.

Braised Lamb Shank - Lamb is one of my favorite proteins to order when dining out and when I saw they offered a braised lamb shank, I was sold.  I know that while braised meat almost always produces good results, this one wasn't executed well.  The cut of meat was quite fatty and there was only a slim portion that was tasty.  But the most disappointing part of the dish was the side of vanilla mashed potatoes.  Although it sounded exotic and inventive, the vanilla flavor was too predominant and it just didn't work for me.  I would've much rather preferred something simpler and classic - no vanilla needed.

Other Dishes - Meg ordered the port cured salami sandwich and a tomato soup.  She said that the sandwich was quite good and she was satisfied with the quality of the salami.  On the other hand, the soup was just OK, nothing special and probably unnecessary to get next time around.

Mackenzi went with the macaroni gratinee (aka mac n' cheese) with gruyere cheese and mornay sauce.  She liked it but remarked that it was a touch heavy and rich. 

Service and Cost:
I can't give too much credit to our waitress - it was apparent she was very "green" but besides that, her tableside manner was really awkward.  We had a couple of strange encounters with her and it was apparent she didn't know much about the menu or food in general.  Her comment about my braised lamb was, "how would you like that cooked?" I know I'm being harsh but come on...you work in a restaurant, you should at least know a little bit about food preparation.

Costs are moderate and if I return here next time, I might stick to an all veggie selection:

Appetizers: $7 - $16
Sandwiches: $7 - $11
Entrees: $10 - $21
Dessert: $6

1.5 Mmmms


  1. I have to say I disagree with this review. I have been to Pomme 3 times and have nothing but good things to say about the place. I don't umnderstand how someone can comment that Mac-n-Cheese with mornay sauce is a tad 'heavy'. What did you think a bowl of melted Gruyere cheese and pasta topped with Mornay would be like?

  2. Everyone has a right to their opinion - you can still make mac n' cheese that's not as heavy, regardless of all that cheese. I agree that it's a heavy dish by nature but the level of richness varies.

  3. kempsternyc10 March, 2010

    MAc and Cheese reminds me of this weekend. I made mac and cheese and got a bit greedy. In addition to my usual Cheddar and Fontina I decided to add Jarlsburg....boy talk about a heavy....but delicious mess.

    The problem was that too much cheese started to clump into chunks and it didn't blend into the sauce I normally can make.......

  4. A tad "heavy" ? No it was plenty heavy for us as well.
    Mornay sauce should be half of Gruyere and half of Parmesan cheese, which it wasn't.

  5. I think Mackenzi would agree Anon. I didn't have the dish, so I can't say one way or the other but it looked REALLY creamy.

  6. I also disagree with this review. We thoroughly enjoyed our experience at Pomme. Honestly, I question the sensibility of ordering a lamb shank, or Mac & Cheese at a French Bistro. Especially as a means of reviewing the place. I can see a few reasons why they have it on the menu. But regardless, the truly French offerings are quite delicious. Have the escargots next time. And try either the steak fritte or the fish. And the pate. Hopefully you'll enjoy them as much as we did. And order one of their amazing dessers. The people were raving about them when we were there but we held off from ordering this time.

  7. Like I said, everyone has a right to their opinion. I respect yours - and I would try it again and order something more "French." Helpful to know it's good there.



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