April 24, 2008

Brasserie Comparisons

Hi Dad, Thanks much for the info on inexpensive Bordeauxs! I'm in the process of placing my orders to have a good stock on hand at home. Our dinner for Mom's birthday last week at Old Town Brasserie last week is still on my mind. I thought the quality and creativeness of the menu were unsurpassed for the price. Clearly, Roland Liccioni has brought a taste of les Nomads and le Francais for a 3rd of the price. That said, one thing that has left me perplexed is why it's called a Brasserie. In the US it seems the term Brasserie is used to refer to restaurants with a french slant but do not reflect the true definition of Brasseries in France. Last summer, we all had the opportunity at a classic french brasserie in Reims called Le Boulingrin. My understanding is a Brasserie is a restaurant that serves all day long and does not requirement reservations like at Le Boulingrin. Brasseries tend to be less formal and have simple menu's with many choices. Old Town Brasserie requires reservations and is only open for dinner. It is also a lot fancier than any Brasserie I've been to in France. While there were some aspects of Old Town Brasserie that resemble a french Brasserie such as a reasonably priced wine list and a less formal service it seems most french visitors would not recognize it as a Brasserie. It seems the term Brasserie, as well as cafe and bistro, are very loose terms in the US as compared to France. Can you shed any light on if there is any rhyme or reason to the term Brasserie in the US to describe a restaurant? Dreaming of another trip to the fanciest Brasserie in Chicago nonetheless! Love Stephane

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