Long ago, I learned the hard way that the only way for a food writer not to balloon up 10 pounds a year is to eat only a portion of what she’s served. But sometimes, the food she encounters is so well-prepared that the rules go out the window. Sometimes it’s a rib-sticking burger. Maybe it’s a perfect piece of pork. At L’Auberge Chez François’ casual downstairs Jacques’ Brasserie, it was everything. Reader, I caved.
My weakness is well-made meat dishes. And Jacques’ has it in spades. I started my meal with the “house delicacy,” wagyu beef cheeks. Served adorably en cocotte, the collagenous cheek meat was cut in a motley array of chunks. I was surprised to find that the dish was more than just fork-tender beef and wild mushrooms. In fact, with its garden of vegetables, including carrots, potatoes and green beans, the dish was almost like a hearty Bourguignon with sherry sauce standing in for Burgundy. It was also a great medium for dipping the three different breads that I had responsibly left sitting on my table until then.
But I didn’t know surrender to cravings until I met the veal scaloppine. When it arrived on the table, I consciously said to myself, “There are two pieces of veal. You can have one now.” This proved impossible the moment I cut into the incomparably tender piece of meat from Pennsylvania’s Marcho Farms. I demolished both pieces, flour-dusted and presented in Madeira sauce, in moments. Part of this also owed to the sliver of Virginia ham between the layers, adding another level of salt and flesh to the proceedings. Don’t worry, Mom, I also finished the garden vegetables on the plate. And the hazelnut soufflé. I mean, it’s mostly egg whites and air … // 332 Springvale Road, Great Falls
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