by Celia Sin-Tien Cheng
December 10, 2005
50-12 Vernon Blvd
@ 51st Ave
Queens, NY 11101
Tournesol is a great French bistro slightly outside of Manhattan, but only ever so slightly. (It’s in Long Island City on the first, — Vernon Boulevard-Jackson Avenue — stop on the 7 subway line and literally right in front of the subway stop, so really not a far trek at all.) And for Tournesol, it is totally worth it.
It’s a small eatery, very authentic and very reasonable. I hear they have a great brunch too, and I can’t wait to try it.
The escargot in tarragon butter sauce is to die for. Tarragon is an important herb in French cooking, when used chopped along with parsley, chives and chervil, they create the traditional seasoning blend known as fines herbs. It is also one of the main flavorings in béarnaise sauce, another French invention that I thank god for. So adding tarragon to the butter sauce for the escargot seems to only make sense. As rich and heavy as it sounds, the dish doesn’t taste it. In fact, it’s going to take all you’ve got to stop yourself from licking the plate. The slight licorice flavor of the tarragon makes this dish slightly less ordinary than the usual escargot, but it certainly works.
The rest of the meal was great as well but I have a feeling I will be talking about Tournesol a lot more so I’ll stop here for now. My sister is also very impressed with their wine list that has reasonable prices for good quality wines, a mark of an establishment that has integrity and is not trying to cheat the consumer.
With a lack of nice, authentic, and not-overpriced French Bistros in the city, I’m glad that Tournesol is not too far away. But like I said, it’s certainly worth the trip!