BOSTON - A red-hot neighborhood; an icy, boozy treat; and Parisian sophistication without pretense. It is time you said bonjour to Frenchie. Located on trendy Tremont Street, Frenchie is the latest addition to the South End, offering fine French dining in a casual setting.
Owner Sandrine Rossi, a native of Normandy and an engineer by trade, felt that while Boston had some truly fabulous French restaurants, they were a little too fancy for everyday dining.
"I felt a bit underserved here. French cuisine is well represented, but they're really fine dining oriented and far from the lifestyle we have in our everyday life in France. When you're far from home, food is what ties you to your culture and I thought, I want to make my culture alive here."
So, she joined forces with seasoned restaurateur and Petit Robert owner, Loic Le Garrec to create a sophisticated, yet easy-going space, serving their favorite French foods in small plate form.
"We really tried to set ourselves apart from the traditional French cliché bistro where you have the white table cloth, the fancy wine, the fancy glasses," he said.
"We kind of recreated this easygoing atmosphere that you can have in a regular French café," Sandrine added.
The menu at Frenchie is lined with shareable classics like Steak Tartare and Coq au Vin, along with some unexpected surprises like Shishito Peppers roasted simply with Meyer lemon.
"They're very sweet. They're not very spicy peppers," Loic assured. "All we do is soak them with olive oil, salt and pepper. It's crunchy and you get that pepper taste, but it's not hot at all. Sometimes you catch a hot one. You have to be careful."
There are beautifully arranged boards of cured meats and fine cheeses that pair perfectly with a glass of Frenchie's frozen rose, or Frose as they call it.
"We have this wonderful slushie machine and we mix our delicious rose. We do one with grapefruit and the other one is strawberry puree, lime juice, simple syrup," Loic explained. "People love it. It's nice and sweet and refreshing."
While the Frose may cool you down, nothing will warm your heart or your stomach like that quintessential French dish, Beef Bourguignon, served in a snack-sized portion.
"We decided not to have it as a full stew but just give a piece of beef in a small plate. So people can just discover it and share it," Sandrine said.
"We use short ribs, pearl onions, but keep the meat super tender," Loic added. "You don't even need a knife. Just a fork will slice right through it."
Out of all the tasty ways to feast at Frenchie, the Mussels are a must-try, served in a white wine broth with chorizo and rouille toasts.
"We cook them mariniere style which is white wine, shallots. We add some leeks and chorizo for a twist," Loic described.
"The broth is so good people like to dip some bread," Sandrine said. "You can eat it with a spoon or with bread or with French fries. All of them are super good."
Once you have snacked, it is time to get serious. At Frenchie, the main courses are marvelous. There's perfectly cooked duck served over a parsley root purée with mandarin glazed carrots, and that popular meat and potatoes bistro staple, Steak Frites.
"We have a Plancha oven in the kitchen. We grill the steak there," Loic said. "We serve it with shallot confit and homemade French fries. Super simple. Super delicious. Can't go wrong."
Another tasty, traditional choice is the Croque Madam, an egg-topped sandwich that is as delicious as it is messy.
"You spread the yolk all over it; that's the way I like to do it. And then I eat it with my silverware," Loic said. "But you can go in and put your hands in there if you want to get dirty. It's a bit messy, but it's unbelievable."
What would a French meal be without dessert? Frenchie offers indulgent options like Chocolate Bread Pudding, classics like Crème Brule, or their decadent Chocolate Mousse.
"Chocolate mousse is a must have in Frenchie," Sandrine stated. "It's the traditional way of making it. Melted dark chocolate mixed with white eggs. Just the chocolate; just the eggs. It is exquisite."
With most of those menu priced in the low teens, you will find a trip to Frenchie delicious, exquisite, and much more affordable, than flying to France.
You can find Frenchie at 560 Tremont Street in Boston, and online at frenchieboston.com.
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