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Metro Marché

625 Eighth Ave. at 41st St.; 212-239-1010

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Metro Marché is a courageous gambit in a corner of the Port Authority bus station, turning out amazingly good brasserie dishes at astonishingly gentle prices. It sits all aglow, an oasis of optimism and red-black-and-yellow-striped leatherette, surrounded outside by the dinge and funk and dysfunctional creatures that have always made a trek to the bus slightly scarifying. “Maybe this is the first move in a renaissance,” my pal suggests, all of us instantly seduced by sensational French onion soup, good country terrine with a kind of apricot chutney, and first-rate steak-frites—yes, even the frites score tonight. Maybe the moules marinières lack flavor and the skate needs an edge of buttery nuttiness. But I’d make a detour to return just for that lobster Cobb salad (imagine, lobster that is not overcooked!) and for tarte tatin that actually has that tatin savor—another rarity around town. If only the kitchen can keep up when the joint is full. At least you don’t have to walk through the terminal to claim a table for entrées from $11.95 to $19.95, wines by the glass starting at $7. Up front, find an appealing display of sandwiches, salads, and pastries to go. Occasionally passengers walk through thinking they’ve found a shortcut to the station, but the whimsical décor—a stash of vintage baggage and train cases, faience roosters, and a collection of miniature buses—is set out above cupboards and doors to thwart hit-and-run pilferers.


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