Friday, April 12, 2024

Restaurant Review: La Nouvelle Maison

I’ve been a Francophile my entire life. I learned French in grade school, studied in France, got married in France and can happily devour my weight in cheese and baguettes any day. We eat with all our senses, and for me, French cuisine hits each one effortlessly, from its buttery garlic aromas to its masterful dish presentations. Let’s not forget the essential flavors, from creamy sauces, rich cheeses and tender braised meats to delicate wines and dreamy pastries.

A dining experience at a French restaurant is never just about satiating your hunger. It’s about the entire experience, and La Nouvelle Maison embraces that joie de vivre from the moment you step inside. The hostess greets each guest at the door, swinging it open with a smile. The room is buzzing, but bartenders and servers alike take the time to smile as we’re ushered past the spacious bar and several dining rooms to our table. Our jolly waiter presents the cocktail, wine and dinner menus as a white logoed paper bag is dropped off, gifting us a warm epi baguette with a side of lightly chilled salted butter. Unsurprisingly, the wine menu is mainly French but offers a variety from the Americas and Italy.

Escargot a la Bourguignonne

It’s always hard for me to decide what to order at French restaurants, because I love it all and want to eat it all, but our waiter insisted the escargots a la Bourguignonne ($21) were exceptional. The cluster of six arrived, emitting a heavenly garlic scent that caused me to quickly fork one into my mouth without pausing for it to cool—a rookie mistake. Take my seared tastebuds as a cautionary tale; at least blow on it for a few seconds. Perfectly toasted brioche croutons topped the tender snails, which I noticed came with two to each buttery indented pocket. We also tried the steak tartare Napoleon ($34), two squares of Merlot-red raw beef sandwiching a caviar center and topped with more caviar and a quail egg that combined for a rich, indulgent and beautifully presented dish.

The entrees, both also exquisitely plated, arrived. The yellowtail snapper ($44), with its sauce flourishes and a colorful vegetable medley, and the Wagyu beef short rib Bourgogne ($59) with a magenta orchid and a sculpted Yukon potato puree. I tasted both sans knife, the fish and meat softly melting onto my fork. Key West pink shrimp and a tangy beurre blanc sauce topped the fish, while an adjacent red pepper coulis sauce gave any bite I passed through it a light kick.

Wagyu beef Bourgogne
Yellowtail snapper

The beef Bourgogne was a delicate version of what I expected. Instead of a provincial hearty meat stew peppered with onions, mushrooms and carrots, it was a rectangular short rib with a restrained, silky sauce poured over it.

When it comes to desserts here, my word of advice is to choose the soufflé. Just make sure to order it with your dinner so it can be timed appropriately. We chose the Grand Marnier, but Bananas Foster and chocolate are also available. Just as none of the classic French dishes disappointed here, the sky-high soufflé was everything I’ve ever wanted from this dessert—warm, eggy, cloud-like and not overly sweet. As I exited in a state of culinary nirvana, I felt like a true bon vivant as I uttered bonne soirée et merci beaucoup to all.

IF YOU GO

455 E. Palmetto Park Road, Boca Raton; 561/338-3003
PARKING: Complimentary valet
HOURS: Sun.-Thurs., 5:30–10 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 5:30–11 p.m.
PRICES: $15-$60
WEBSITE: lnmbocaraton.com

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Christie Galeano-DeMott
Christie Galeano-DeMott
Christie is a food lover, travel fanatic, bookworm, Francophile, and she believes art in all its forms is good for the soul. When she’s not writing about the incredible dishes, people and places that capture South Florida's culture and vibe, Christie is irresistibly happy in the company of her husband and a glass of red wine.

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