i have been waiting for years to finally have a taste of Chef Melissa Perello's food at Frances. this restaurant is unpretentious and holds a Michelin star. the food isn't over the top and i don't feel like they try to dazzle you with crazy words (however my knowledge of food has grown immensely over the years so while i immediately know what "gremolata" means, i guess your average Joe might not.) i'm happy to report that my expectations were absolutely met and the service was above and beyond what i anticipated.
rosemary almonds. they don't look like much but these were soo good. they must have infused the butter with the rosemary.
bacon beignets. just light enough. just chewy enough. just smokey enough. just bacony enough. much much MUCH better than any beignet i had in New Orleans.
chickpea fritters with lemon aioli. awe hell yes!! this was the best dish of the night.
generally dishes like this are sort of gritty or overly coated in a thick breading of some sort. but at Frances the middle was suuuuuuuper creamy (in fact we actually thought there was cheese in it but we asked. and there isn't) and the crispy exterior was just faintly there. it wasn't greasy in the slightest bit and it was tasty as hell.
Kim, excited for our culinary journey
myself, also excited. if you noticed, it's super light out still. i made reservations two months in advance and all i could get was a 5:15 pm reservation on a wednesday. ridiculous. but i can see why their reservation book fills up so quickly. the food is worth the wait.
baked clams with fennel and bacon cream. mMmm!! there was a lot of bacon flavor and the brininess came through at the end.
crab risotto with meyer lemon cream. lots of fresh chunks of crab. risotto cooked to perfection. a very simple and well executed dish.
duck breast with polenta. perfectly cooked with a super crispy skin. the skin was cooked in a manner in which the outcome reminded me of chinese roasted pork.
bavette steak. while the the rest of the dish was good and the jus was fragrant and flavorful, the steak itself was a bit on the chewy side (something that is common for a bavette but not expected at a place like Frances)
chocolate almond clafoutis. with caramelized banana, burnt salted caramel and salted caramel ice cream. thank the heavens! so good!!!
apple galette with maple walnut ice cream (it originally came with rum raisin ice cream but i can't stand rum raisin anything so we asked them to switch it). very well executed. light and not too sweet. the toasted pecans added a nice texture and some sweetness to the dish.
when the server asked if we wanted a to-go box for the bavette, we said no. he inquired about whether or not anything was wrong and we told him that we were just too full to finish and that it was a tad chewy. we didn't expect anything from it and wouldn't have even mentioned it had he not asked. he apologized and a few minutes later came back to tell us that the manager took the beef off of our bill. that was a very nice gesture on their part considering we didn't go out of our way to complain about it or anything. the manager came by before we left to apologize about the beef. he was really friendly and funny. and he didn't speak like he was above us or was annoyed with us for disliking the bavette. he did say that sometimes with that cut of meat it tends to be chewy but when their chef cooks it you can usually eat it with a butter knife. then he said "most times it works out but sometimes....it don't!," and then shifted his weight to his right hip in a comical way. i thought that was gracious of him to be able to speak with a little bit of humility about the restaurant.
this meal is one of the better meals i've had in a long time. and because the service was stellar, i give Frances a solid five stars.