LouLou Le Petit Bistro

Words such as organic, local, and sustainable are plastered on the shop window and menus -- and the greens used in salads certainly appear to be -- but the food here seems lost in another time and place. This is especially true of the entrées. "La bavette" brought a plump, red, juicy hunk of chewy flank steak so redolent of potent red-wine marinade that it hardly tasted like beef. A heavy brown sauce loaded with shallots and onions was reminiscent of thickened soupe à l'oignon. Another dense sauce, this one spiked with vinegar and sweetened with raspberries, pooled pale pink slices of a small magret duck breast. An accompanying stew of French lentils, densely steeped in vegetable-and-dry-herb notes, might have passed muster in front of a fireplace somewhere on a snowy evening. We didn't care much for the pizzaladière or octopus l'escabeche either, but we enjoyed a nicely charred hamburger with gorgeously golden fries; a coarse, peerlessly prepared country pâté; a bright French onion soup lathered with Asiago cheese; and a deliciously fresh, wheaty crêpe spread with Nutella. Likewise strong is the wine list, composed by the former longtime sommelier of Palme d'Or at the Biltmore. Also appealing is the unpretentious neighborhood bistro feel -- a place to perhaps linger with pâté, a salad, maybe a burger or some onion soup, and a well-chosen glass of wine. Much of the rest of the fare is merely middling.