Bouchon
by Deborah (EDT), Jeff/ Heller, Keller, Michael/ Jones, Susie/ Ruhlman, Thomas (EDT)/ Cerciello, Thomas Keller
(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(7)
When Thomas Keller imagined opening a second restaurant in Napa Valley, next door to his French Laundry, he envisioned a place serving food that excited him in a different way from the food at the French Laundry. He craved food that was less complicated, and a place that was more casual, where he could go every night after work. And that was how Bouchon was born. Bouchon cooking is about elevating to elegance the simplest ingredients, because the best food isn't necessarily what is served at white-tablecloth restaurants, and the best meals--as most chefs will tell you--don't require the most expensive ingredients or lots of them or lots of steps. The only thing that's required is that you care about all the stages of the process--the slow browning of sliced onion for an onion soup, the proper cutting of the potatoes for a gratin, the right amount of salt on a raw chicken, how long you cook a pot de crème. All the emblematic bistro dishes are here, interpreted and executed as they've never been before. The confit of duck, country-style pâtés, soupe à l'oignon gratinée, steamed mussels, steak frites, gigot d'agneau, all achieve the impossible: they get even better.

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