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Bistro Lamazou

Note: Bistro Lamazou closed in July 2012. In a familiar story, they closed for renovations, then two months later announced that the closure was permanent.


I don’t spend much time in Kips Bay, but apparently Nancy and Aziz Lamazou did everything right: their neighborhood cheese and sandwich shop, Lamazou, has fans galore.

So they decided to double down, opening a new restaurant, Bistro Lamazou, taking over a store that used to be a Blockbuster Video. The space is striking, with two bars (one for liquor, the other cheese), a communal table, and an ample dining room, which I fear may be too large for the area.

The chef, Jean-Claude Teulade, who once worked at La Côte Basque, offers a menu centered on North Africa (where Aziz Lamazou is from), though it pays tribute to many other cuisines. The Times describes it as French, a somewhat misleading label.

The menu, with its many categories, meanders more than it should. Appetizers are roughly $8–18, entrées $18–29, though it is sometimes hard to tell which is which. The burger is $18, which strikes me as audacious.

A whole section of the menu is captioned “From the Cheese Bar.” Given the owners’ background we had to try some. The Cheese and Charcuterie Sampler ($24; left) was bizarre, with its centerpiece a fountain of prosciutto and melon balls dangling out of a martini glass, with cornichons and pickled onions on the side. (It also came with a plate of bread, not pictured.)

It was far too much for two people. Four could have shared it happily. The ingredients were fine, but the selection balance was off: it could have used more cheese and less meat, especially coming from a team that specializes in the former.

Entrées were ample too: Couscous with Lamb & Vegetables ($27; above left); the Braised Lamb Shank ($25; above right). If no new culinary ground was broken, they were well prepared and attractively presented.

The wine list is ambitious, for a restaurant like this, with more than fifty bottles, mostly from France, Italy, and Tunisia, with plenty of options below $50. But I was less impressed when I ordered a 2005 Valpolicella Classico Superiore, and was presented with a 2008, which the server did not notice until I pointed it out. The printed price, $42, would have been a bargain for an ’05. Not so much for a bottle three years younger.

Aside from that, service was fine for a restaurant roughly two months old. It was not crowded at 8:00 p.m. on a Wednesday evening. It’s a cute place, and I would certainly visit again if I were in the neighborhood.

Bistro Lamazou (344 Third Avenue between 25th & 26th Streets, Kips Bay)

Food: *
Service: *
Ambiance: *
Overall: *

Reader Comments (2)

Good job correctly noting this place as being in Kips Bay. Always bothers me when (more often than not it seems) people refer to anything above 23rd St. as "Murray Hill", which is definitely is not.

July 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteranon

I am glad you liked it, Marc. I lived in the neighborhood when the space WAS a Blockbuster store. Aziz and Nancy are such nice people, I have my fingers crossed for their success.

July 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWilfrid

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