Our simple request, often insurmountable, was met with insouciance. Water, no ice, served in copious amounts, room temperature. Thus, we started the meal on a happy note.
L' Express decor is refreshingly French, not canned, hyper-French theme park decor. It is well worn, simple, and tight. The decor fairly represents the service. This is a place to go for some decent food served with a simple, direct and fast style. To me, it is a Bistro. I will repeat the ancient urban legend, that when the Russians occupied Paris after Napoleon's defeat, Cossaks would storm into private cellars turned restaurants, shouting "Bystro! Bystro!", demanding food. Of course, this is likely a myth. But the cellar kitchens were specialists in simple food, usually braised, cheap cuts, served with no flourishes, at workingman's prices to supplement the rents paid by occupants.
At L' Express we had chicken sausage, onion tart, trout almondine. Nothing was stunningly good, but everything was good. And the value was exceptional. This is a place to return to, which in Manhattan, is high praise indeed. We have a short list of places to go when our sense of adventure is dulled by work, places we count on for good food fairly priced when too tired to explore. L' Express is on the list.