My parents were in town last week, and we went to see The Ides of March (excellent, if you were wondering) early friday evening. The movie ended around eight and, since we were in my neighborhood, it was up to me to figure out where to go for dinner. I'd walked by the park avenue bistro probably fifty times, had often stopped to look at the menu and peer inside the appealing french doors, but had never actually been. It seemed like a great family place - always full but never loud, interesting but reasonably priced menu - so I made a reservation.
My initial impression of the place was spot on. The space is incredibly appealing, mostly white with bright pops of color, soft lighting and enough space between tables to easily get up and down without knocking into your neighbor. But the best part is that it was almost impossibly quiet. Not depressingly quiet - the restaurant was at least 80% full - but pleasantly, I-can-hear-what-you're-saying-without-having-to-scream quiet. A fantastic place to go, if that's what you're looking for.
The food was good. My dad ordered the coq au vin, which was tender and full of flavor, and my mom and I split the grilled shrimp arugula salad (sprinkled with cheese and a light, citrus-y dressing) and the fresh tuna nicoise salad (loaded with fresh vegetables and drizzled with a sweet balsamic vinaigrette and a spicy, addictive pesto), both of which were excellent, if on the small side. Overall, although the menu isn't exciting, it's got lots of options and nearly everything sounds (and from what I could see, looks) delicious.
Bottom line: a fantastic, entirely reliable neighborhood bistro, perfect for a relaxing, quiet dinner with family or friends.
377 Park Avenue (b/w 26th and 27th)
grilled shrimp arugula salad
tuna nicoise salad
coq au vin