The latest in our Quick Bites series brings us to the Bowery for traditional french fare.

Mathieu Palombino's excellent Motorino has become a fixture on the NYC pizza landscape, with locations in the East Village and Williamsburg attracting happy crowds night after night. His space on Bowery, however, has been a little less of a sure thing, with the just-ok Bowery Diner giving way to the prix-fixe Chez Jef, followed by nearly a year of renovations and planning behind brown-papered windows.

And then, voila, this past weekend Palombino and crew opened La Gamelle, a full-on French bistro with a (gently-priced) menu packed with classics and an interior straight out of central casting: dark wood, dark leather, mirrored walls, checkered tiled floors, lace curtains, baguettes on open display, servers in black-and-white uniforms with aprons. There's a spacious bar area up front—the basic footprint's the same as in past Palombino efforts here—that gets great light in the evening, and the back dining area is both cozy and comfortable.

Best of all, based on the two dinners I had during the restaurant's opening week—one in the evening, at around 6 p.m.; one later at night, around 9 p.m.—you can have actually have a relaxed conversation at La Gamelle, no shouting required. It feels like a grown-up place, but without stuffiness or high-tax-bracket prices. This is a rare combo on Bowery these days, where even the best food often comes with a side of shrieky desperation, and it is more than a little welcome.

(Photo by Scott Lynch/Gothamist)

If you're a French food fan, you're going to enjoy La Gamelle's menu of traditional fare. I tried to eat as much as possible, but didn't even get to crowd-pleasers like Steak Frites, Moules, and Frisée au Lardons. What I did have, though, was saucy and satisfying, the type of cooking that's easy to like and a pleasure to eat.

Take the Oeuefs Mayonaise, for example, which, despite its simplicity—a semi-hard-bolied egg topped with a blob of mayo—was possibly my favorite single bite of either visit. And while most deviled eggs appetizers around town these days—and there are a lot of them--start at $8 and go considerably higher, at La Gemelle four half oeuefs, a generous crock of wonderful housemade mayo, and a tangle of well-dressed greens is only $6.

There's a whole Les Charcuteries section here, all of which are likely tasty if the Pâté en Croute I devoured is any indication, a funky-sweet concoction of rabbit, prune, and pistachio within a crusty frame. Also solid up top is the Asparagus Mousseline, which may not look like much, but man that Hollandaise delivers. Seriously, I guess I don't eat a lot of sauce-heavy dishes these days, but between this and that thick lemony dressing on the greens and all that mayo, it made me think I should try a little harder to get this sort of thing in my mouth more often.

For my Plats Principaux I went raw on the first night, with a solid Steak Tartare that maybe relied a bit too much on the gerkins for vinegar and crunch, but was still nice and meaty (and no raw onion, the overload of which is the downfall of many a similar dish). The accompanying pile of frites were good too, and certainly worth whatever calories it added to my day. Finally, if you like chewy burnt cheese, consider the Spring Leeks and Ham, in which some unremarkable sliced meat wrapped around a trio of kind of mushy leeks is all elevated considerably by the mornay sauce and blistered comté cheese.

If you want a good meal, don't want to spend a fortune, and are not in the mood to deal with the usual lower-Bowery scene, La Gamelle could become your new neighborhood go-to. It certainly has become mine.

La Gamelle is located at 241 Bowery. (212-388-0052;