Bistro Campagne

Lovely patio seating on a balmy summer night...and gloriously rustic confines in cold weather. My mom and I ducked into Bistro Campagne, shaking freshly fallen snow out of our hair, and surveyed the bustling dining room...on a Wednesday night! Apparently many other diners in Lincoln Square felt the same way I did: that nothing warms the heart like a little mood lighting, heavy French accents (especially broken English peppered with French phrases and niceties) and a rich, flavorful meal with loved ones.Each meal starts with a paper-wrapped mini baguette with a garlicky hummus-like spread and, if you're like me, a bottle of wonderful French wine. We settled on a Cotes du Rhone, which our delightful server gladly let us taste before we committed. Both times I've been to the bistro, I've had the Tallgrass beef burger with aged cheddar and fresh fried onion straws. On a toasted brioche bun. My mom and I added on the broccoli rabe with crushed red pepper, and we tried (read: snarfed) the bread pudding for dessert. Everything on the menu sounds incredible, but damn if that burger doesn't taste every cent of deliciousness for $13. I can't stay away. Maybe someday I'll try something else. Or brunch. Or another burger. Mmm.

Singles note: If you're alone, you can usually snag a seat at the bar. The area is definitely better suited to those waiting for tables -- a shallow overhang for the lap area is conducive to spills -- but add in a good book and a great view of all the hungry people being turned away without reservations, and you've got a pretty nice date.