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Aug 18, 2012 09:00 AM

Bistro Foufou - Traverse City

Wow! Compared to yesterday’s review of BFN this one is a cinch. Much easier to write a good one than a negative. In short Bistro Foufou ROCKS!!

The only negatives I can think of: first - we were referred to as “you guys” once (how petty is that?) second – the wine glasses were even worse than BFN. With an excellent wine list small Libby glasses are inappropriate to say the least. The last may not even be a negative at all but it got really loud as the place filled up.

It is in the space that formerly housed Hanna Bistro. Spiffed up – high ceilings, tables small but not too small, close but not too close, two bar areas – really nice. Only open for less than two weeks, the service was surprisingly good and glitch-free. Pleasant, knowledgeable and efficient sraff. Water glasses filled. Plates not taken until both of us were finished. Wine list is shorter than the one at La Becasse but plenty of good choices and entirely appropriate to the menu and venue. As mentioned above the only real complaint I have is the wine glasses.

Foodwise I would have to say it is the equal of the flagship, La Becasse. That says a lot since LB is our clear favorite in the area. Starters were beef tartare and rillettes. Both as good as any in Paris. For main course my wife had the duck parmentier – confit duck with excellent pureed potatoes – delicious. Even better was my lamb belly. Pork belly you see everywhere - seems to be the mandatory offering these days both here and in Paris. This is the first lamb belly I can recall and I loved it. Served on a bed of Israeli couscous with marcona almonds and raisins.

We still had a third of a bottle of a great Chinon (Couly-Dutheil $40) and the cheese plate that went to the next table looked so good we decided to have one. Good call – three of the nicest cheeses we’ve had outside of France. An absolutely perfect bleu d’auvergne and a hard Basque sheep’s milk cheese with a great texture and nice acid bite. The third was the best of the three, a brie-like goat’s milk cheese that had a creamy texture not found in most chevres. The taste mild but very complex. Served with blue berry jam and onion jam and thin toast slices.

Dessert was a flan that disappeared way too quickly.

We made a reservation for next week on the way out – ‘nuff said.

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  1. Nice review I'll be trying this soon.

    Did Hanna move or close?

    1 Reply
    1. I was in T.C. today. Stopped at lunchtime to browse the menu, but nothing jumped out at me. I guess I should have stayed anyway!

      1. Sounds great! Do you think reservations will be necessary? We are heading Up North on Sunday and will be there through Thursday. We will have to check this place out.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Elyssa

          They told us they are full every night. I would definitely reserve. We may be there on Thursday.

        2. Went again last night. Even better. Frisee au lardons as it should be. Goat with lentils was to die for. Braised goat was tender and seasoned just right and served atop the tastiest lentils ever. Bouillabaise at the next table disappeared quickly to raves from a pair of obvious foodies. Cheese was again superb. Washed everything down with a terrific bottle of Morgon. Chocolate pot d creme was dark, rich and creamy.

          Our server did everything just as you would expect of the very best, most professionals in Paris. Always available and helpful but never intrusive. Plates always placed from our left and removed from our right. It was so impeccable we had to inquire - turns out he was born and raised in Switzerland - quelle suprise!

          To sum up both visits. It is like a trip to Paris without the airfare and the jet lag. We will be regulars.

          2 Replies
          1. re: jock

            So great to here that everything from food to service has been consistently great---says a lot for a brand new restaurant.

            We will likely be checking it out when we head Up North on Sunday. I just wish they would post a menu online.

            1. re: Elyssa

              partial from memory.

              frisee au lardons
              soup du jour (corn chowder)
              steak tartare
              ? prices 7 to 9
              steak frites
              lamb belly
              baby goat
              ? 16 to 25
              three verbal desserts
              cheese plate 14

          2. Follow-up. Two visits this summer call for a downgrade on FouFou.

            The service is still spot on and the wine list is probably the best in TC both for quality selection and price.

            Unfortunately, the food has been dumbed down losing both care in preparation and "Frenchness". Still pretty darn good but no longer fabulous.

            3 Replies
            1. re: jock

              Wow. A crash and burn in just five weeks?

              1. re: RedTop

                Err, RedTop, that's Aug 2912 to Sept 2013. ;-)

                Chef Adam McMarlin, formerly of my TC favorite Bay Leaf (RIP) was at FouFou from opening to June 2013. I don't know what happened there. He's at Phil's on Front for the moment, but I don't know how much influence he has there. I do hope he'll eventually get his own place!

                Anyway Adam's departure may well be the explanation for the changes in the food at FouFou.