A few weeks back my wife and I took the Ferris' out for dinner at Le Petit Marche to thank them for the wonderful job they did with the flowers at our wedding. It's a traditional French Bistro in Brooklyn Heights. The place is small, maybe 20 tables and about 2-3 waiters and waitresses. The decor is very French with a pink Fleur-de-lis pattern and many of those vintage french posters on the walls (I usually find those cliche, but in this case they were very appropriate). The lighting is dark and the mood is very quaint and neighborhoody. It's the kind of place where you can have a comfortable conversation with your guests and not feel like you're disturbing half the patrons.
The food was incredible. The mussels cooked in beer were so fresh they didn't taste the least bit briney or fishy. The broth was so good everyone at the table was scrambling to sop it up with bread. The lamb chops melt in your mouth. They came with a creamy potatoes au gratin with a hint of jalapeno. Here the chef is putting his touch on a classic side dish. 9 times out of 10 this type of attempt falls flat on its face. This time the innovation was inspired. For dessert there was a pear tarte which I loved (then again I alway love fruit tartes). More impressively there was passion fruit, rasberry and chocolate sorbet. I usually don't like sorbet at all. In fact, I usually can't stand it. These however, I simply could not stop eating. At the end we met the chef. He's a nice guy who warmly accepeted all of our compliments.
All in all, this is one of my favorite types of restaurants to go to. The food and service are excellent. The ambiance is one where you are in a nice place, but you can be comfortable, talk at a normal volume and act like yourself. The restaurant becomes part of a wonderful experience with friends, a backdrop for a night of telling stories and having a good time. In my opinion, the cameraderie the place inspires is the best part of going to a restaurant.