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Let’s face it, in Manhattan and Brooklyn you have dozens of French bistros to choose from, some at prices that undercut the East Village’s Le Philosophe. Why pick this place? For one thing, it does the standards exceedingly well, including a nice roast chicken, steak frites featuring a flatiron rather than a sirloin or a skirt, mussels in the usual garlicky gunk, and a foie gras torchon that can’t be beat. In addition, Le Philosophe strays into haute cuisine territory, dishing up duck l’orange, tournedos Rossini, and lobster thermidor. Rather than being the usual sodden old warhorses found in Midtown spots, these recipes have been spruced up for modern sensibilities in a sort of New York cuisine minceur. But we’ve saved the best for last: Le Philosophe features a lengthy French wine list with full bottles priced in the $20 to $30 range, allowing you to down your French meal like a real French person without landing in the poor house.