Among the first questions I asked Tarzi Benazzouz, owner The Parisian Restaurant & Wine Bar in Jupiter, Fla., was this: How do you walk the line of creating an authentic French menu without being “too hip’’ for the audience?
The Paris-born Benazzouz smiled.
“I crossed the line,’’ he said. “I made it authentic French. When I started, I said, ‘Let’s do this the right way.’ And I’ve had a great response.’’
That’s not surprising given The Parisian’s outstanding menu that includes Grilled Salmon with corlander and Garam Masala; Chicken Fricassee with light cream, brandy and mushroom sauce; and Mussels Mariniere with white wine, onion and garlic broth, is as close to Paris as you can get without crossing the pond.
My favorites? The Coq Au Vin – free range chicken in red wine with mushrooms is a “must-have,’’ as is the Foie Gras from the Perigord region of France.
The Parisian’s wine list features small producers of French wine along with a few boutique California wines from Steele Winery. Your server – or the personable Benazzouz himself – is more than happy to recommend a wine that pairs well with appetizers, entrees and desserts.
The brunch menu – loaded with crepes and tartes, is one of the best in South Florida.
The Parisian’s Summer Prix Fixe menu is a good way to get to know the restaurant. The summer menu ($30 per person) features appetizers such as Tarte Flambee and entrees as Chicken Fricassee and Sautéed Snapper. The dessert offering include Crepe Suzette and Chocolate Profiteroles.
The also is a terrific Happy Hour menu with items such as Escargots, Beer Mussels, a Charcuterie Plate with duck mousse pate, and Steak Tartare.
“I bring something new,’’ to the Palm Beach County dining scene, said Benazzouz, who comes from a family of French chefs and wine makers. “What we are, basically, is a brasserie. Growing up in Paris, I went with mother every month to brasseries.
“A brasserie menu is different from a bistro. A brasserie has a more upscale, sophisticated menu.’’
And in that regard, at The Parisian Restaurant & Wine Bar, Benazzouz not only crosses the culinary line, he sets the bar.