To consume traditional French cuisine, you can do one of two things: grab a passport and fly to Paris or drive to Oak Cliff. While one is a bit more enticing than the other, along West Davis Street, where each block is beginning to resemble Bishop Arts, there’s the relatively new French bistro, Bouchon 1314. The name is fitting, as bouchon roughly translates to "cork" in French and this new eatery also doubles as a bottle shop where visitors can sift through more than 200 wines.
After chef Jean-Michele Sakouhi abandoned plans for a wine bar in Deep Ellum (although he still has eyes on a location, he says), he recognized an opportunity for a full-service restaurant in this Tudor-style shopping strip from the 1910s. The interior is reminiscent of a chateau’s wine cellar, and being surrounded by racks of wine bottles provides a cozy sense of safety, as if the bottles of wine are the arms of welcoming hosts. Who doesn’t want to be wine-hugged?
Sakouhi has a passion for opening restaurants with chef Victor Garcia, who has tagged along from Dallas’ Le Paris Bistrot to Fort Worth’s The Vault. No matter what new restaurant they open, they deliver.
To start the meal, the menu offers shareable plates like apple tart foie gras and Galician octopus, but beef tartare is the best option. This patty is a full-bodied helping of peppery raw beef with a robust flavor from capers. The thinly cut and crispy potato chips that come on the side each have a drop of creamy béarnaise that doesn’t beg to be mixed with the beef, but warrants it.
The duck confit comes attractively plated and cooked to a tender perfection where one swipe of the butter knife separates meat from bone. The taste of game is complemented by a dash of sweet potato purée dipped in cognac ginger demi; the entire bite awards the mouth an explosion of flavor.
House specialties cover proteins: chicken with ratatouille, braised lamb shank, pork Normandy. The real gem? The rack of lamb Provençal. It was cooked medium-rare, and a light Dijon pistachio-crust covered both cuts of meat and added a zesty, nutty taste to each bite. Mellow garlic mashed potatoes arrived with the sautéed vegetables displayed on top. The sensational Saint-Jacques au citron featured buttery, pan-seared weight U10 scallops, the largest available.
The menu is impressive, but the wine list could be called The Holy Wine Bible. There are reds and whites in the upper $20 range, or dare to get fancy and drop a couple hundred on a bottle. Order a port to complement the sugary goodness of Bouchon's tiramisu or provocative crème brûlée. A liquor license and cocktail menu, and patio are also in the works said Sakhoui. A flight across the pond is pricey, but carrying home a bottle of wine after this meal and you'll forget Paris.
Bouchon 1314, 1314 W. Davis St., Suite 110, 214-941-3000, open 5-10 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 5-9 p.m. Sunday
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