Even though French food evokes images of fanciness and snooty waiters, much of it is actually very simple comfort food and that is what Zucco: Le French Diner excels at. On the opposite end of snooty, owner and chef Zucco, a thin, French accented version of Lemmy serves his customers personally. Modeled after ” the typical French truck stop” the space is small and comfy but it baffles the mind how such great food can come from such a sliver of a kitchen.
Don't bring a huge gang, as Zucco told The New York Times the space can “seat 20 skinny people or 14 fat ones.” This is a spot for unplanned, intimate meals with someone that makes you laugh. Conversations are overheard (the night we went most were lamenting the passing of David Foster Wallace), elbows are rubbed here, but it never feels claustrophobic and every seems to be having such a nice time. The eclectic decor and the great mix of music piped through the speakers make this a place in which you wouldn't mind lingering but it's the food that makes you want to stop by again and again.
Nothing too complex in the delivery of their bistro classics. The foie gras was creamy and smooth served in triangles with triangle shaped toast and a spiced, baked apple to spread on top. Even the little accompanying salad was yummy.
As a main I had the quality, big, plump and fresh tasting mussels in a cream saffron broth. A bucket of greasy fries accompanied that exclaimed how bad they were for me at each bite (not that I was helping things with my worst vice of dipping them in mayonaisse). Of course they were delicious.
Jim, hungry after his first day at his new job, ordered the burger with egg and mashed. It's not an American hamburger, lest you be surprised, there's no bun. It was beautiful, though sadly my photo doesn't do it justice, but believe me the perfectly sunny side up egg is one of the best eggs I've seen in a restaurant since Ramen Setagaya. It was hearty comfort food that would be so welcome on a cold night (which won't be that long from now). One warmer days, while they last, try to grab a sidewalk seat.