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Apr 30, 2008 01:14 PM

French Bistro

I've been working my way through a Batali Cookbook and Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook.

Northern Italian food is pretty accessible in Austin these days, but I am looking for suggestions for French Bistro fair.

I'd just like to sample some of the basic dishes I have been cooking to see if I'm getting close! It is not a genre of food I have a whole lot of experience with, so I'm a poor judge.

I understand that Chez Nous is hit or miss. Anyone have any opinions on this or other options?

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  1. I like Chez Nous, but I consider it more "down home" classics. They sometimes have special dinners/tastings on invitation. You might give them a call and tell them you're interested and to give you a call when/if they'll have a French classics tasing...

    1. French restaurants are shockingly rare. Aquarelle and Chez Nous and ...

      I guess there are various other restaurants with French dishes. I see duck confit on the menu occasionally. What part of France does Les Halles cover? Any specific dishes you want to try? We might can come up with a good example dish even if the restaurant isn't all French.

      I've been to Aquarelle twice in 5 years and wasn't too impressed either time. Not worth the money to me.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Carter B.

        thanks for the info Amy. Carter, I'd really like to try some of the pork dishes from his book. I believe Les Halles is an actual city in France.

        The dishes I'd really like to try are: rilletes de pork, mignons de porc a l'ail. there are many others- coq au vin...

        list goes on. i guess I just need to go to NYC and get my eat on there!

        1. re: ieathereforeiam

          Les Halles is actually the name of an old famous market in Paris.

          You should check into Ventana. I haven't been but want to go. It's the culinary school's restaurant, and when I checked their menu online, it was very classic French food. Plus the price is good.

          I like Chez Nous, but don't remember seeing coq au vin, etc., on the menu. I went once to Aquarelle and was enjoying their bar offerings on Bastille Day. Unfortunately, the staff was so unbelievably rude and condescending that I refuse to return.

          You can also check the Chez Nous catering service, Le Marseillais. The menu changes, but they offer dishes for 3-4 people.

          1. re: renz

            The revolving menu at Chez Nous often features duck-liver pâté, duck rillettes, or pork rillettes, among other options. The rest of their "French bistro" fare revolves around dishes like steak frites, salade Lyonnaise (served without lardons, unless specifically requested), and escargot. Here's a link to one old thread on their chow:


            San Antonio's La Frite and Bistro Vatel might have some dishes of interest—and they are relatively close by. Just search the Texas board for reviews.

          2. re: ieathereforeiam

            Les Halles as it pertains to Mr. Bourdain, is the restaurant in NYC where is the "Executive Chef"...It is named after the famous marketplace in Paris that was a culinary center for over a century before it shut down and moved a few years ago...

            1. re: jungleboy

              Thanks all. I've been meaning to check out Ventana. Finishing up my second Ruhlman "Chef" series book and have been wanting to visit Austin's version of the CIA. It's embarrasingly close too.

        2. Doh! You just made me think of the late Capitol Brasserie. For all its imperfections, which weren't many, it was a great loss for downtown.