Authentic French Bistro
What is a French bistro? What makes a bistro genuine? What separates a bistro from a restaurant or cafe? Pull up a chair and allow me to shed some light on the history of these fascinating restaurations.
Many have heard the term “bistro” before, but few know the history and understand the draw of such establishments. Hailing from the 19th century, when many French people moved from their countryside homes into cities to look for work, bistros emerged as small, intimate shops that catered to this new type of customer. They were crucial venues for relaxation and socialization amongst workers, and became centers of a burgeoning new culture. In essence, they became the workers home away from home, a sensation I try to capture in the atmosphere of Jean Louis.
A bistro’s menu would change daily, often appearing on chalkboard signs on the patio. Instead of the elaborate meals prepared at famous metropolitan cafés and restaurants, bistros tended to serve simpler fare. This is not to say that the meals were of lower quality – as the only Michelin chef in Pittsburgh, I can guarantee that! Rather, bistros serve food that is affordable and made from fresh, local ingredients.
Many times these meals would be personal favorites of the chef of homestyle meals that workers would recognize and enjoy, such as cassoulet, boeuf bourguignon, and duck confit. This holds true for Jean Louis, as many of our French dishes are masterpieces that I enjoy cooking – and eating!
In addition to food, bistros also served beverages such as coffee, beer, and affordable wines. Much like the rest of the menu, these wines were often chef favorites. Here at my restaurant, we also offer world-class cocktails, and delightful twists on your favorite mixed drinks.
Bistros were also significant because they were typically family owned and operated businesses passed down from generation to generation. Much like in other small businesses, the owner of a bistro would be keenly involved with the day-to-day operations, either in the kitchen as the chef de cuisine or in the front of the house, mingling with customers. This familial element lends to the laid-back and cozy atmosphere of a French bistro.
Affordable prices, enchanting and relaxing ambience, humble but delicious food – these are what make an authentic French bistro a bistro, and what make my restaurant more than just a restaurant. When you come dine with us here at Jean Louis, you will be greeted as a friend, and leave as (well-fed) family.
-Chef Gaetano Ascione
French Food for the Foodie in All of Us
Being a foodie involves means more than enjoying food. It entails an awareness of the best restaurants and dishes in the local area, and an appreciation for the craft behind creating a dish or menu.
Not bashful about its love affair with food, the French have much to offer the foodie in all of us.
For example, French cooking incorporates a wide variety of techniques and styles, from braising and flambeing to poaching and chiffonading. Much of French cuisine relies on fresh local ingredients, such as the homestyle food served in French bistros. Such fare is a treat for foodies, enticing them to discover where the bistro sources its local ingredients.
Foodies are also known for eating as an adventure or hobby, rather than simply as a necessity, and French cuisine does not fail to satiate such intrepid appetites. With a dozen major culinary regions and many bistros changing their menu of chef favorites daily, French cuisine always has something new to offer. This rich tapestry of flavors and aromas is just the beginning of France’s culinary history, culture, and traditions.
In addition to enjoying good food, foodies also love to share their appreciation and experiences.
Whether they are an Instagram fanatic or run a food blog
Foodies will find much appeal in the presentation of French cuisine or the charming atmosphere of authentic French bistros.
French fare and foodies were destined for one another. Regardless of a how a foodie defines themselves, authentic French food offers a delightful experience that anyone will want to seek out, taste, and share.
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Authentic French Bistro
Affordable prices, enchanting and relaxing ambience, humble but delicious food - these are the elements of an authentic French bistro, and what makes Jean Louis an unforgettable dining experience.