Last night I was delightfully surprised by Tournesol, a small French restaurant in Long Island City. My friend, Neille Ilel, covers western Queens for the Queens Chronicle. When we decided to go out for dinner last night, she suggested we try L.I.C.. Having never socialized there before I was game, so off we went.
She suggested Tournesol, having heard that it was started by a former Maitre'd from Artisanal. It couldn't have been a better choice. The dishes were as good as any top end restaurant in Manhattan, such as Gotham or Grammarcy. We shared two appetizers, the Sautéed Calamares with Beets, and the Terrine of Duck Liver & Fig Chutney. The Fois Gras was delicious, but that always is. However, Neille declared that the Calamares was the best she ever had, and I would agree. It was lightly fried, more like sautéed and fresh and delicious. For dinner we shared Seared Skate with Red Cabbage and Mango Sauce and a white fish called Hake on top of a bean salad. The Skate was great. The "Mango" sauce was more of an apple/pineapple sauce. There was an apple compote in the middle of the red cabbage, and the entire dish was more like eating a hot desert than a main course. The Hake was a nice whitefish, but the bean salad under the Hake was out of this world. It was cold and fresh and served with asparagus on top of a small exposure to a yellow curry dressing.
By dessert we were stuffed, but I had to try the Isle Fleutant (sp?) ("Floating Island"). It was cold, sweet, light and mouth watering.
All in all, it was a great evening. The biggest and best surprise was the cost. In Manhattan, I have had dinners that are not the equal of this one for close to $200. Here, the main courses average $14 and the appetizers around $8. With a half carafe of wine, we got away for $75 bucks. It doesn't get much better than this.