While enjoying a recent dinner at Jeanne & Gaston, I reminisced with my fellow diners about the endearing, yet quirky, behaviors of our grandmothers. As we discussed how our grandmothers hid the family heirlooms in the most unsuspecting places it dawned on me that owner of Jeanne and Gaston, maître cuisinier de France, Claude Godard, had named his contemporary French restaurant after his grandparents. Surely Chef Claude, a third generation chef, has a multitude of humorous stories about his grandmother as well, but unlike many of us, he inherited a bounty of his family’s Bourguignon recipes.
Opened since December 2011, Chef Claude offers diners a selection of classic French dishes such as French Onion Soup au Gratin, Escargots, and Steak Frites all with modern and refined adaptations. Many of the dishes on the Jeanne & Gaston menu are original Godard family recipes that can be enjoyed in the romantic ambiance of the main dining room while seated on imported French leather banquettes at custom made exotic wood and stainless steel tables. If the weather cooperates, take the opportunity to sit outside in Jeanne & Gaston’s quaint courtyard dining space. This seasonal 40-seat space, open from April to October, is an enchanting dinner setting surrounded by red, dogwood trees and an antique, limestone fountain as well as an abstract mural.
Menu highlights include the Charcuterie, which includes prosciutto, rosette de Lyon, garlic sausage, and homemade chicken liver moose. The Napoleon is made from layered brick sheets with lump crab meat salad and avacado mousse alternating between layers with a lemongrass and clinatro dressing. Main courses that shouldn’t be missed are the Sea Scallop Tarte Tatin Provencale with cherry tomatoes on a basil forchetta and the seared Duck Magret (meaning that the duck was forced fed and AOC-certified by the French government—the same duck as foie gas) served with vegetable tempura and a mango emulsion. Save room for their most popular desserts the Floating Island Gaston Style, classic French custard made with homemade pink praline ice cream and a selection of soufflés ranging from chocolate to grand marnier.