Chef Vincenzo Betulia introduces “Tour de France” at The French Brasserie Rustique
January 30, 2023
Monthly spotlight on France’s culinary capitals through 2023 features Nice in February
NAPLES (Jan. 30) — Chef Vincenzo Betulia, chef-owner of The French Brasserie Rustique in Naples, has introduced “Tour de France” at the restaurant, a 2023 monthly series of specials from France’s culinary capitals. The specials, which include an optional wine pairing, are created in partnership with The French’s Chef Benoît Valota, who recently joined the restaurant from top chef positions at Michelin-starred restaurants in France.
“Chef ‘Ben’ and I have a culinary chemistry that allows us to combine our experience and palates and explore our favorite original dishes from cities in France,” commented Chef Vincenzo. “Each month, a different city is featured with dishes that are indigenous to that city.”
Chef Vincenzo conceived the Tour de France idea together with The French’s executive chef, Ryan Bleem, as a way to share with diners about the distinctive cuisines from France’s capitals, further highlighting The French’s celebration of all of the country’s culinary traditions, from its rustic roots to refined dining.
In February, the spotlight is on Nice. Chef Vincenzo and Chef Ben created a menu of specialties that includes tuna salad niçoise and ratatouille, which both originated in this coastal city. Chef Ben, who grew up in Cannes, 20 minutes from Nice, is exceptionally versed in the area’s cuisine as well as the abundance of produce and specialties available in the markets of Old Nice’s historic center.
The menu’s Tuna Crudo a la Niçoise upends the traditional interpretation of the famous dish with a strong focus on the seafood-centric cuisine of Nice, which is located on the Mediterranean Sea at the foot of the French Alps, on the French Riviera. The dish stars sashimi-grade tuna crudo (raw) marinated in olive oil and lemon, Glasswort (seaweed) instead of green beans, the elegant touch of piped egg yolk versus hard-boiled eggs, and onions pickled in sugar, vinegar, water, and spices versus raw red onions. The Tuna Crudo a la Nicoise is dressed with a simple lemon oil. The dish at The French is offered at $24 through February 28.
The Wild Striped Bass on The French’s Nice menu features a seven-ounce serving of pan-seared fish atop the ratatouille, the star of the dish. The ratatouille consists of zucchini and yellow squash, red pepper, thyme, and rosemary, slow-cooked as a vegetable stew. The bass is graced with thin strips of raw fennel marinated with olive oil, lemon juice and chives. The plate is accented with grilled lemon as an homage to Menton, a little town 10 minutes from Nice, famous for its lemon production, and dollops of pistou (like pesto, without pine nuts), as a nod to Nice’s ties with Italy. (Nice was part of Italy’s Piedmont region until 1860 when it was annexed by France. The city is 19 miles from the French-Italian border.) The Wild Striped Bass is offered at The French at $48 through February 28.
For dessert, The French’s Nice menu offers Citron Tartlette & Meringue Brulee, another opportunity to celebrate lemons from Menton and offered at $15 through February 28.
Wine pairings, selected by The French’s Wine Director Marcello Palazzi, focus on unique, lesser-known producers from Provence.
The Tuna Crudo a la Nicoise is paired with Domaine de Terrebrune Bandol Rosé, from one of Provence’s most internationally recognized rosé regions. The winemaker is revered for the complexity and age-worthiness of his bottling each year. The wine is $18 by the glass, and $72 by the bottle.
The Wild Striped Bass is paired with Château La Mascaronne Blanc from Le Luc in Provence which practices organic farming with limited production. The taste is round and aromatic and an ideal match for Mediterranean seafood dishes. The wine is $16 by the glass and $64 by the bottle.
The Citron Tartlette & Meringue Brulee is paired with Domaine de Coyeux Muscat de Beaumes de Venise from the central region of southern France. The wine has flavors of citrus, white peach and exotic fruit and is $13 by the glass.
The culinary “Tour de France” will continue throughout 2023. Cities on the calendar to date include St. Tropez, Bordeaux and Biarritz.
The French Brasserie Rustique is located at 365 5th Avenue South in Naples. The restaurant is open 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for lunch, 4 to 9 p.m. for dinner Sunday through Thursday, and 4 to 10 p.m. for dinner Friday and Saturday. Happy hour at the bar is served daily 2:30-5:30 p.m. Visit TheFrenchNaples.com. Call 239-315-4019.