[CLOSED at this location]

Pastis is quite a site to behold. It’s not fancy-schmancy, but rich looking in that shabby-chic, French kind of way. It’s almost like the junior version of Balthazar, with its zinc bar, white marble, antique mirrors and white subway tile walls. Coming in off the cobblestones of the Meatpacking District plays perfectly into the surroundings, as windows are thrown open to the passing crowds. The place is just plain cool. So I decided to heat it up with some French onion soup–an appetizer I have trouble passing up, especially at French joints. What followed was one of the best cups I’ve ever had. The stuff was tasty from top to bottom, had just the right amount of cheese and bread… Then the main course came and my smile turned upside down. After having the skate recommended highly, I was excited. Skate is one of those tricky things that needs to be cooked just right or it turns to mush–and that’s pretty much what I got. The stuff had lost all of its tooth and ended up feeling like a wet paper towel in my mouth. I’m a big texture guy, and this was somewhat akin to biting into a mealy apple. Ugh. I wouldn’t let this tear me down, though. I may have just gotten a bum fish. I liked the atmosphere so much, I’m sure I’ll go back and get the steak frites–which I heard were quite good. [MF]

9 9th Ave.