Saturday, January 2, 2010

Bistro Jeanty: Enchanting French Cuisine

Yountville, CA – There is every reason to visit France, but if your cash-flow limits your real-world travel, treat yourself instead to a bona fide French meal at Napa Valley’s Bistro Jeanty. You’ll be enchanted by the authentic, old-world feel—you might even visualize yourself sporting a beret, black turtleneck, and colorful scarf; researching a recipe for cassoulet; and greeting visitors with the charming word for “pleased to meet you,” Enchanté.

“If you read old French books and see classic French recipes, they’re all on our menu,” says Chef de Cuisine, Joel Ehrlich. “People come here because, in my humble opinion, our restaurant is the most classic French bistro in America.” D’accord. Agreed. This classic French bistro decorated with vintage 19th century Parisian posters, hanging fryer copper pans, and a roaring hearth is more than just atmosphere—the food is first-rate.

I sample appetizers of escargot with garlic butter, foie gras pâté served with a port-poached pear, and Miyagi oysters—which, coming from nearby Pt. Reyes, don’t really seem like classic bistro fare until I dab a French-style mignonette potion of vinegar, chili, parsley, and onion on the freshly shucked oysters and voilá—another French star is born, California-style.

At the helm of Bistro Jeanty is owner and chef Phillipe Jeanty, who grew up in the Champagne region of France and opened his 100-seat restaurant in Yountville nearly 12 years ago, adding another coveted Michelin star to the epicurean capital of California—Yountville. “I wanted to recreate all my favorite childhood dishes and opening up a bistro was one way to do it,” says Jeanty. Bravo, Phillipe—bien fait; well done.

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