New York is full of surprises at any street and any time. Leon is one of the surprises we had experienced recently. One can hardly claim that any restaurant is the best one in NYC, but Leon with its quite good food, lively atmosphere and good service is surely in the prime league.
The place has around 15 small tables inside and a couple of tables also outside, making it a good choice also for the summer. The atmosphere is warm, cozy and most important of all, ¨French¨ with its zinc bar, mirrors and with the typical French door.
This place is a reasonably priced bistro / French restaurant in East Village, and I suggest reserving a table beforehand especially for fridays or saturdays. It is a casual place and its bar is also welcoming to those who want to have a nice French wine. You can also try several special cocktails as appetizer.
The menu is rather small, consists around 10 different dishes but covers the essentials like: Nicoise salad, steak, mussel and pates. But first of all, bread and butter are served to your table. The mussels are listed on top of the menu, in capital letters. We ordered Magret De Canard (duck breast), which was not available. We ended up ordering mussels (served with hand cut potato chips which I LOVE) and rice paper wrapped salmon. The mussels were cooked the French style and were really delicious indeed. The salmon was served on a mango puree, an amazing couple indeed. Both dishes were delicious, large in size, were visually nice, thus memorable. We also ordered one bottle of pino blanc (2008) from the Alsace region of France. We ended up paying $85, which I think is acceptable considering the food and service quality.
There is a good selection of wines (as bottle though) that goes well with the menu. The wine is also served by glass, but obviously with a much more limited selection. The staff is attentive and friendly. The kitchen closes quite late and it can be a perfect spot for late dinners. The most important tip: only cash and Amex cards are accepted. If you want to taste good food in a friendly atmosphere, Resto Leon certainly should be in your short list.