If you could time-travel back to the year 1980, you’d find Hell’s Kitchen liberally peppered with authentic French bistros. The inevitable bar that flanked one of the long sides of these storefronts would be the private domain of locals from the old country who congregated nightly to converse with the proprietor and each other in guttural French.
The menu was also pretty much one-size-fits-all. There was onion soup under a thick mantle of fragrant melted cheese, a reliable country pâté served with strong mustard and crusty bread, plump mussels accompanied by a small Everest of crispy fries.
Although you can’t go home again, you can come close at a new addition to the neighborhood that takes its name — Steak Frites Bistro — from another of the signature dishes of the old school. The kitchen does four variations on the steak theme, including two iterations — côte de boeuf, and chateuabriand — that require a partner.
Steak Frites Bistro, 496 Ninth Avenue (bet. 37th and 39th Sts.), 929-614-5070.