New Yorkers can eat out everyday of the week and never try the same place twice. Finding something that sets a restaurant apart and makes it unique is a must, along with having delicious food. But making a meal INTERACTIVE is a rare find, and makes diners feel adventurous, enthused, and entertained. Tareau Bistro Francais Moderne, located on E. 7th Street in the East Village, is a stunning example of a little gem of a restaurant with a special twist. Taureau is a fondue restaurant.
I personally had not experienced fondue often. I had it once at a restaurant in Montreal when I was a girl on vacation with my family, as well as having authentic cheese fondue in a Swiss village during my post-college graduation Europe trip. It had been many years since I had last had fondue when I watched the Throwdown episode in which the fondue at Taureau beat Bobby Flay‘s. The food looked so good that I picked Taureau for my birthday dinner date with Craig last year. We were so impressed that we chose to go back there for our 3 year dating anniversary last weekend. I knew this time I would want to share our wonderful fondue experience.
On Fridays and Saturdays, Taureau has a mandatory 3 course fondue $48 prix fixe. It is not cheap, but worth every single penny. You can go other days and order ala carte but I could not recommend more that you wait for a special occasion and splurge on the prix fixe, that way you can try all 3 fondue courses.
FIRST COURSE: the cheese fondue. We chose last year to have the one featured on Throwdown, which won, called the Perigord. It was so delicious we had it again this year. The Perigord is described as “Italian Gran Padano (18 Month old Parmesan) & White American with truffle mushrooms and truffle oil! Heaven!” Heaven is actually printed on the menu, along with the exclamation marks, and for good reason. The cheese is so gooey and tasty, with a slight truffle flavor, not overpowering. First course is served with a plate of bread and salad and we order the ala carte side of broccoli ($7), because I love broccoli and never get to dip it in delicious cheese. The bread (and I believe ala carte sides) are unlimited. The salad is tossed in the classic French dijon vinaigrette that is classically served in bistros and everywhere I ate in Paris. This first course is superb, and you’re just getting started.
SECOND COURSE: Fondue Bourguignon. Taken from the restaurant’s webpage, “Fondue Bourguignon consists of a fondue pot filled with oil into which diners dip pieces of their choice of sliced Marinated meat to cook them.” This course is a particularly unique find in my opinion, as most people think of fondue as dipping bread into cheese. At Taureau, you get your choice of oils: (1) Canola Oil “Simple , but effective” (2) Peanut Oil “If you are not Allergic” or (3) Olive Oil “Pronounced flavor.” You can also choose from either veggie broth or a special house broth of veggie broth and red wine for a lower calorie option. But trust me, you should not worry about calories at this meal. We chose the Canola I believe, by this time I was in a calorie and wine induced haze. The meats to chose from are pork tenderloin, beef hanger steak, beef filet mignon, and chicken breast. Craig and I split between the two beefs. They were both so tender with every ounce of fat trimmed.
But what really took this course to soaring heights was the accompanying FIVE dipping sauces. I am a sucker for dipping sauces and condiments in general. Taureau serves Bordelaise, Dijon, Truffle Mushroom, Blue cheese and Mixed Peppercorn sauces. Our waiter told us the cheese one was a gorgonzola but the online menu states blue cheese. Either one would please me immensely. All the sauces were all excellent but it was the Bordelaise that blew us away. Bordelaise is a classic French sauce named after the Bordeaux region of France, which is famous for its wine. The sauce is made with dry red wine, bone marrow, butter, shallots, and sauce demi-glace. It is normally made for accompanying steak and it was the highlight of the sauces. The last piece of this course that we loved was when we decided to try frying the bread. My knees weak thinking about dipping the fried bread in the sauces. And you can make a sandwich bite with bread, meat, and sauce!
THIRD COURSE: chocolate fondue. For dessert, you get to choose between milk and dark chocolates, served with a “seasonal fruit tray.” In addition to a lovely assortment of fruit (i.e. bananas, apples, grapes) the tray comes with marshmallows, two small pieces of banana bread, and two bite-sized pieces of rich thick-cut bacon (see photo). This was a lovely and surprisingly light way to end the meal.
I can not praise Taureau highly enough. With all the food, neither Craig nor I felt that we rolled out the door. You eat slow, laugh a lot, play with food, and taste incredible food of the highest quality. I recommend going around 9:30, so the setting is energetic for the first half of the meal, and quiet and intimate for the second half. And I can’t forget to mention that Taureau is also a BYOB, bonus!
Below is a link to the menu, so you can look at the other 10 cheese fondues they confect. You will really thank Hot2Molly after eating here. Please let me know if you do!