Best French in Albuquerque? Yup.
First visit: April 20, 2014
Latest visit: February 18, 2015
P’tit Louis Bistro transports you back to the center of Paris, France, the 1920’s, where French Cuisine is expertly prepared for your pleasure. Little French flags embellish each table, along with simple but elegant place settings. P’tit LouisBistro is the perfect choice for an Albuquerque French Restaurant. This rare spot in Albuquerque, New Mexico is renowned for skillfully knowing how to leave French classics untouched, unmodernized, and absolutely delicious. P’tit Louis Bistro offers a completely different experience than other Albuquerque French Restaurants.
Christophe Descarpentries (Executive Chef) and Christopher Griego (Chef de Cuisine) are masterful artists, and have created such exceptional dishes for me as Le Croque Monsieur, Moules Marinières, Coq au Vin, and the very best soupe à l’oignon I have ever had. My old friend Mina Yamashita, an elegant food writer, could be seen here at least weekly. You can read a posthumous collection of Mina’s writings, Mina’s Dish, in The Weekly Alibi.
So, What’s Good to Eat?
Coq au Vin
Coq au vin : “rooster/cock with wine”) is a French dish of chicken braised with wine, lardons, mushrooms, and optionally garlic. While the wine used is typically Burgundy, many regions of France have variants of coq au vin using the local wine, such as coq au vin jaune, coq au Riesling (Alsace), coq au pourpre or coq au violet (Beaujolais nouveau), coq au Champagne, etc.
The version served here is astonishingly good. It is brought to the table in an oval cast iron casserole, and the aroma is sensational. This prompted me to get a pair from Amazon. I now make Coq au Vin at least once a month.
Soupe à l’Oignon
Many French Onion Soups can be dreadful—they commit such sins as being overly salty, thin, greasy, and weak tasting, as if they were made from a supermarket mix. The version served here is lovingly made from scratch, and is the very best I have had anyplace. No sins here, this is a heavenly dish.
Moules Marinières avec Pommes Frites
This dish was ordered by my good friend, the Dazzling Deanell.
Moules-frites or Moules et frites is a popular main dish of mussels and fries originating in Belgium but also popular in France and in the rest of Northern Europe. It is sometimes considered the national dish of Belgium.
The mussels are plump and tender. Tastiest I have had in this town. The fries are perfect.
Le Croque Monsieur
The is a baked or fried boiled ham and cheese sandwich. Traditionally made with (slightly sugared) Brioche-like bread pieces (pain de mie, not the usual white toast bread, or with normal butter bread, but with a soft crust, topped with grated cheese of the same type, slightly salted and peppered. Instead of the butter bread, the bread is optionally “browned” (e.g., grilled) before and then dipped in whipped eggs, then the whole sandwich is finally baked in the oven (sophisticated café version), or fried in the fry pan (home version), but not ordinarily grilled (or then grilled in a particularly croque-monsieur-specific horizontal grill), so that the top cheese can melt over the bread’s edges.
You will not find a better version anywhere in this state.
But wait—there’s more.
Every dish in the gallery here is a must.
And don’t forget some terrific bread and wine.
I wish this place would move to Corrales so that I could eat there every day.
What Others are Saying
Mina Yamashita—Mina’s Dish
“Chef Christophe Descarpentries outdid himself with his bouillabaisse, a Mediterranean fish stew rich with saffron, imported rascasse (rockfish), clams, mussels and shrimp laced with potatoes and vegetables. The stock was reduced seven times, and I tasted the care in every bite. Also on the list is his poule au pot, which I’ve singled out before [“Taste of the Town,” Oct. 27-Nov. 2].”