The French have given the United States many tremendous gifts, such as the Statue of Liberty and the current Statue of Liberty, which subdued the first one after lightning made it evil. Enjoy an edible French gift with today's Groupon: for $15, you get $30 worth of authentic French cuisine and drinks at L'Artiste in Astoria. Within its inviting, comfortable confines, L'Artiste offers beautifully presented dishes culled from fresh upscale ingredients. Instead of surprising patrons with a tableside pop quiz, L'Artiste keeps diners on their toes by offering a rotating menu of culinary delights. Past plated presentations have included french onion soup ($7), grilled scallops with cauliflower, eggplant and mornay sauce ($12), and beet salad with goat cheese and honey walnuts ($9). Equally tantalizing entrees have included the delicate open-faced mushroom ravioli with an airy mascarpone sauce ($17) as well as a juicy duck breast paired with butternut-squash purée and orange beurre-noisette sauce ($21). Meals can get capped with a sweet-tooth stunner such as the passion fig tarte with crème fraîche or the multilayered french-coffee panna cotta with nougatine and caramel ice cream. Upscale yet casual, L'Artiste's quaint décor mixes modern accents with vintage personal touches for an intimate and inviting interior, ideal for meeting with friends or having a staring contest with a bird-faced spy man. Belly up to the polished wooden bar or black-and-white-striped banquettes for a bottle of vino while taking in the wall mural of the Eiffel Tower, contemporary canvas paintings, or the shelves and bookcases adorned with vintage knick-knacks.
L'Artiste Restaurant’s executive chef Luis Santos transplants French culinary style from across the pond to his warmly lit American dining room. He often kicks off meals with complimentary amuse bouches before presenting plates loaded with tender, finely cooked cuts of meat, such as filet mignon, lamb, or salmon. After a course or two of Mr. Santos’s savories, the talents of pastry chef Hicham Lamzaouri take over to treat tongues to a passionfruit parfait with blueberry confit or a passion fig tart beneath a dollop of crème fraîche.
L'Artiste’s intimate dining space ensconces diners in warm, yellow walls dotted with the glowing orbs of round light fixtures. A massive polished wooden bar dominates the center of the room, backed by crosshatched shelves capable of holding dozens of bottles of wine or an entire clan of meerkats in its ample cubbyholes.