In the heart of restaurant laden Park Slope lays the Parisian-style bistro Moutarde. Inside and out it looks very much like a French bistro – or at least the American concept of what a French bistro should look like. There are some round marble-topped cafe tables, some wood topped tables, black & white checked floor, overly crowded, overly noisy and overly expensive for the typical bistro fare, and service that is not so great. There are mustard jars and spice jars adorning the walls and scattered on the shelves throughout the restaurant.
Their biggest, and most recent, claim to fame is having a scene from the wonderful film Julie & Julia filmed there. Yes, foodies, a scene that was supposed to be in France was actually filmed in Park Slope, Brooklyn! Do you remember the scene where Julia was having lunch with her sister and introduced her to brie? That scene was shot at Moutarde!
And that movie scene is exactly what brought Fork and Fish Fork to Park Slope this day for brunch. We must have been early. When we walked into Moutarde, there were open tables scattered throughout the restaurant. The restaurant is very light and has a warm feel to it. We were shown to a 4 top table, nervous that at some point two more people would be wedged in next to us. The only difficult t hing about this table was that Fork was sitting on the side of the table that was by the pathway from the kitchen. I swear Fork’s tines were all askew by the end of brunch! Luckily, Fish Fork was sitting across the table and was spared the cutlery bashing!
As it was an early Sunday afternoon, brunch was still being served. One of the nice things about the menu at Moutarde is that the brunch menu has many lunch or dinner type items on it. There are steaks and burgers and various breakfast items.
Fork and Fish Fork both ordered the Croque Monsieur. Fork cannot resist a good Croque Monsieur, especially with a side of fries! Now, I don’t know how things work around your cutlery drawer, but look at the photo….do those look like French Fries? Nope. Not long. Not fried. Not crisp ~ in fact, mushy. And most importantly, not good.
Now, the Croque Monsieur. I wish I had better things to say about this sandwich. Well, I think I can rephrase it. It wasn’t bad. It wasn’t great. I wasn’t all that memorable. The cheese melted on top was yummy.There really was nothing substantial between the bread. The sandwich was a little soggy. While its tasted good, it sort of reminded this piece of cutlery of a grammar school cafeteria grilled cheese. The company was wonderful, and sometimes – at least for this brunch – that is far more important than the food! The bellini didn’t hurt in setting the mood either! I understand that the burgers at Moutarde are great. Fork should have followed an instinct and had the burger!
The entire meal was saved by dessert. Apple Tarte Tatin! Yummy! It was sweet and tart at the same time. The crust on the bottom was buttery and crispy. The apples were sweet and slightly tart, perfect foil for the apple-y caramel drizzled all over the plate and the cool scoop of vanilla ice cream. The only down side of this dessert was that the tart itself was not gooey enough. It was slightly dry, and the delicious caramel is drizzled everywhere EXCEPT on the tart itself! And this Fork is not quite sure what that feather of mint is doing on this dessert. It kept making Fork think of the children’s song ‘Yankee Doodle’…stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni! It transformed this lovely dessert into a Fez.
The staff is not attentive enough. Proof in that are the tines now in desperate need of straightening form the constant banging by the bus boys as they passed Fork’s chair. Try getting a water glass refilled or to get an explanation of what’s on the menu. As the place became more busy, the service was more lax, and the acoustics just made the sound bouncing off the walls nearly unbearable. Even trying to get the check and pay the check, was a long procedure.
I think it may be worth a try to go back to Mourtarde for lunch or dinner. I don’t think it’s fair to judge a restaurant by their brunch or holiday service….too many people at the same time.
Cafe Moutarde ~ 239 5th Avenue ~ Brooklyn, NY ~ 718.623.3600