The Weekly Open Thread: French Food — Great Cuisine, or Greatest Cuisine?



Prince Edward Island Moules Mariniere from Chateau West
One of the best parts of Nashville's current culinary blossoming is the fact that little holes in our restaurant repertoire start to fill up.

For example, French cuisine. There's definitely good, French-inspired food in town — I'm thinking of Table 3 and Café Fundamental, not to mention the venerable Margot and Marché, and Nashville's long-thriving Provence is a French bakery and cafe — but there's never as much as I'd like, because I'm greedy for French food.

It doesn't have to be high-end French. Years ago when I lived in Washington, D.C., I couldn't get enough of the somewhat divey French bistro Au Pied de Cochon, home of the $9.95 early-bird special — and Soviet defectors. It closed a few years ago and became a Five Guys, so I'll never again get to enjoy the creamy, saffron-scented mussel soup.

This week Scene restaurant critic Carrington Fox spends a little time at Chateau West, the new French bistro on West End, the labor of love of French chef Alain Treville and entrepreneur Huseyin Ustunkaya of Anatolia Turkish Restaurant.

The odd structure at 3408 West End Ave. — which has been a pancake house, a Chinese restaurant, the-since-relocated Tenno sushi house and I don't even know what else over the past 30 or 40 years — has been transformed into an elegant and comfortable space. There Fox enjoyed classics like French onion soup (a "delicate elixir"), ratatouille (a "precise medley") and foie gras (a "custardy schmear").

Read Fox's enjoyable review here, and let's discuss. How much do you love French food? If you don't, what's wrong with you ... er, I mean, why not? Does Nashville need more of it? Do you ever cook it yourself?

And this being the Open Thread, share whatever's on your mind, s'il vous plait.

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