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Sel et Poivre: A Review

Sel et Poivre is a cute, quaint French restaurant that is tucked away on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.  It is designed in the style of a classic Parisian bistro, and their classic French dishes are served with an update style.  The owners are Christian and Pamela Schienle, a husband and wife team.  Christian is also the executive chef and the wine director and he oversees all the desserts, which are made in-house.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that this restaurant is quickly approaching it's 28th (yes, 28th!) year in business.  They have been in the same location the entire time. If you're familiar with the lifespan of many New York City restaurants, you'll recognize that this is the equivalent of multiple restaurant lifetimes.  Because of this, the Schienle's are familiar with a number of their patrons.  Christian greets them at the entrance by name and ushers them to their seats.  Throughout the evening, he can be spotted throughout the dining room, making small talk with everyone, answering questions, and making sure the guests feel welcome.

Before we get into the food, here are a few additional things I learned -

- At the time we visited the restaurant, they were in the middle of a Wild Game Festival.  They serve game at all times (see their Wild Game Menu on their site), but they were running a special menu then to highlight their offerings.

- They offer daily specials, which includes some of the wild game that was featured for the Festival.

- There are different specials associated with different days of the week.  There are patrons who will come to the restaurant on certain days just to ensure they can feast upon a certain meal, such as coq au vin, sweetbreads, and more!

- They offer prixe fixe options for lunch, dinner and brunch.  Check out the menus on their site!

And now, the food...

Wild Boar Pate Plate - This was not on our tasting menu, but Christian brought it out for us to sample.  It is not on the regular menu but is typically offered as a special.  The plate contains a slice of the wild boar pate, red wine mustard (yum!), slices of baguette, a dried prune, and cornichons.  I'm not a fan of pate in general, but I tried everything else on the plate and it was all tasty.  I personally loved the red wine mustard.  Red wine and mustard combined into one condiment?  Thank you!

Lentil Soup - Can I admit that I've never had lentil soup before?  Can I still remain in the foodie club?  This lentil soup has a chicken and potato base and it's blended up so well that it tastes super creamy, even though there is no cream added.  It was delicious and I recommend it for sure.

Also, please keep in mind that we were served from the tasting menu.  So these portions are a bit smaller than those you would see when ordering from the regular menu.

Salmon with White Bean and Green Beans in a White Wine Sauce - Spoiler alert.  This was my favorite dish.  I loooove salmon but it's not great everywhere.  It is great here.  The salmon was tender and flaky and the white wine sauce was delicious.  I made sure to eat everything on this plate.

Bistro Burger - I was pretty nervous about this one, as I prefer my burgers to be cooked well done or medium well.  This Bistro Burger was presented medium rare.  Cue my racing heart!

Still, it was fantastic!  Set et Poivre has used the same butcher for almost 28 years and the burger patties has been the same the entire time.  This burger was so simple but very juicy and flavorful.  I would definitely order it again!

We also received a side of fries with the burger.  Now, I am a fry fanatic.  I could eat them every day if I didn't stop myself.  These fries were so delicious!  They take Idaho potatoes and double fry them so that they end up crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.  I'll take another round of these please!

Escargot - We received a surprise course during dinner - escargot!  It was not on the menu but one of the ladies we were dining with asked about it and Christian graciously brought out a few servings for us.  The escargot was presented in a divine garlicky pesto sauce which really paired well with it.  I made sure to drag some of the homemade bread through this sauce as well!

Wild Boar Osso Bucco with Wild Mushroom Risotto - This was our last main dish.  I confess that I've never tried wild boar before, so I was looking forward to this.  The meat was so tender that it fell right off the bone.  The flavor reminded me of pork, but also of beef.  The wild mushroom risotto was absolutely delicious.  It was creamy and the mushrooms provided a nice bite.

Warm Apple Tart with Vanilla Ice Cream - On to the desserts!  This was my favorite dessert.  That's shocking, considering I'm a huge chocolate fan, and the other dessert is chocolate.  The crust on this tart was crisp, and the apples were caramelized, soft and sweet.  The ice cream was cold and creamy.  I could eat a few of these in one sitting!

Chocolate Terrine - This dessert was a nice end to the meal.  It's a rich, creamy, chocolate mousse, layered over a tart fruit puree.  It was the best way to close out this amazing meal!

**Disclosure: I was provided this meal free of charge.  However, all opinions are my own!