First, know that the owner and French Chef Claude Godard is a third generation Chef who has the title of Maitre Cuisinier de France. It is an envied title, obtained in a competition and given to a Chef who will follow the motto “to preserve and spread the French culinary arts, encourage training in cuisine, and assist professional development.” This is a big deal and a guaranty to eat some authentic French food!
The restaurant, named after the Chef's Grand Mother Jeanne and his Grand Father Gaston, is of medium size, with a warm ambiance thanks to its bricks and wooden tables.
One of the main feature that will be great during warm weather is the garden.
So here I am for this press dinner in a French restaurant. I am asked if I will be pickier because the chef is a fellow Frenchman: I do not think so, especially knowing that most of the Chefs try give a modern flair or elevate traditional dishes.
The bread was a cute little baguette that was warm and delightfully crispy. I would eat that bread at each meal!
It was a wooden plank with different meats and some duck liver mousse. The meats were: rosette de Lyon (cured saucisson or French pork sausage), garlic sausage and prosciutto. For sure, I paid more attention to the duck liver mousse as it was the only part of the dish that was made by the Chef! The mousse was very light and tasty. I think I noticed a hint of alcohol in it...I could have eaten a whole plate of it!
The second appetizer was sea scallops with a creamy polenta and carrot and cardamon sauce.
The presentation was beautiful! The scallops were well cooked with a nice sear and were not rubbery. The polenta was delicious: very creamy and not grainy. It paired well with the carrot sauce. Problem is that I do not really like cardamon and it sometimes overpowered the dish. Without the cardamon, this dish would have been a total hit for me!!!
Then came the first entree: a quenelle in a nantua sauce.
Think about quenelle as a dumpling. This one was a traditional one, made with pike. When I was a kid, the only version of quenelle I knew was the one in a can. In France, you can find a wide variety of quenelle made with pike or chicken and many different sauces. It is only later that I tried a fresh one: much lighter and tastier than the canned one! I think I saw some at Whole Foods even!!!
Anyway, this one was very light and not fishy at all. However, there was at some point some fishy taste in the Nantua sauce (consists of bechamel, cream and crayfish). This was my least favorite dish although I loved the quenelle itself.
The second entree was a roasted duck filet served with red cabbage and grape reduction.
I loved it! The duck was slightly pink and moist. The grape reduction was delicious and not sweet! It was a perfect dish and I would surely order that again! Having red cabbage and a grape reduction was a great idea, far from the traditional sides you would eat with duck.
For dessert, we got a brioche pudding diplomat and a raspberry souffle.
The desserts rocked! I am still drooling thinking about the pudding! It was dense, buttery and served slightly warm, with chocolate valrona ice cream to die for and a vanilla sauce.
The rasperry souffle was a nice change to the regular chocolate souffle. A bit sweet, it had a nice fruity taste.
I almost forgot to mention their nice French wine selection, from Bordeaux to Bourgogne. We were able to taste the following:
- Bourgogne Chardonnay Kimmerigien 2010, Domaine Brocard
- Jurancon sec 2010, Chateau Jolys
- Fronton classic 2009, Chateau Brouissel
So it was a great tasting and so I decided to go back for Brunch before writing this post, to see if going as any customer would change my mind on this restaurant.
Round 2 - Brunch:
For brunch, Jeanne et Gaston offers mainly French dishes, as well as (very) few classic american brunch dishes, such as the French toast or the burger. They offer a brunch prix fixe for $18 (at the time this post is written) that includes an appetizer and an entree.
Jodi picked the prix fixe and ordered the crispy goat cheese with a tomato sauce for the appetizer and the scrambled eggs with a potato cake, bacon and sausages.
The crispy goat cheese was in fact goat cheese and veggies in a phyllo that is fried and served with a salad with a julienne made of at least carrots and zucchini. It was very good and the phyllo added a nice crispiness to a dish that had a lot of freshness. The tomato sauce was excellent and reminded me of a russian dressing.
The scrambled eggs were fantastic: exactly how I like them! Not overcooked, moist and fluffy! There were herbs in it and I think I guessed some scallion. The potato cake was a nice pairing and was similar to hash brown, but shaped into a cake. Serving the dish with meat was generous, but considering the quantity of food, if they would not have put any, it would not have been a problem!!!
On my side, I decided to order the Jeanne et Gaston burger as I heard it was real good:
First of all, it was well presented and very appetizing. The cheese on top of the burger was camembert that hopefully will not offend cheese lovers...I think brie or camembert are a great way of serving a cheese burger! And they were really generous with the quantity of cheese!
The meat, that sat on a soft bun with a bit of crispiness on the bottom, was perfectly cooked (I asked for medium), moist and very tasty. I noticed the same tomato sauce that was served with the crispy goat cheese appetizer. Delish! I would definitely recommend their burger that is far better than the one at The Spotted Pig and was worth the $18!
Last, the fries were nice and crispy, not greasy. I just wish they had mayonnaise to eat with it...
I think it was great to go back to Jeanne et Gaston to try their brunch after this fantastic tasting I was invited to. It gives me more reasons to think that this is a place to know. And note that this is one of the best brunch deals in the city!
Enjoy (I did)!
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And Remember: I Just Want To Eat!