Hugs are something we’ve all had to shy from lately, so when you find a meal that makes you feel as if you’ve been hugged, that’s saying something. And there’s a lot to say about Brasserie Mon Chou Chou.
What’s In a Name?
Let’s talk about the name. “Mon Chou Chou” is an affectionate French nickname given to a person who is special to you. Usually a person of unmatched care, love and beauty who makes your world “go round.” That sort of affection and care is something we all need. And let’s face it: it’s fun to say. Bonus: You automatically feel worldly when you say anything in French.
But when people think French food, they think stuffy. Mais non, mes amis – which means, “But no, my friends” and somewhere, my high school French teacher is smiling – there is nothing pretentious about a brasserie. In France, those informal restaurants with tables spilling out onto the sidewalk and where people are welcome to dine all day, never rushed from their table, are typical. And absolutely lovely.
Whisked to Paris
And that is the easiest way to sum up Brasserie Mon Chou Chou. From the atmosphere to the wait staff to the amazing food, everything is absolutely lovely. Even if you haven’t been to Paris, Brasserie Mon Chou Chou takes you there. Sitting at a café table, laughter and music filling the air, sunlight streaming through the windows and at night, the lights of The Pearl, you’re whisked away. (We even heard the iconic “La Vie en Rose” while we were dining and it just felt, well, Parisian!)
And that’s because the team behind Mon Chou Chou knows a little something about French food and atmosphere because they are all Français. Born from their shared love of food and their homeland, and their adopted hometown of San Antonio, the menu features quintessential French comfort food that showcases simple, earthy, flavorful dishes from regions throughout France.
Start with the Chariot de Fromages, a literal cart of cheese from which you can choose 3, 5 or 7 to enjoy. Or the Sandwich au Fromage Raclette, where a melting wheel of cheese is shaved onto a crisp baguette right at the table. It’s amazing and yes, IG-worthy. But if you want to dive into an edible hug, the Bisque de Homard en Croûte is a must. Lobster bisque, served in puff pastry, is like lobster pot pie that will cure anything that ails you.
For more French perfection, dive into “Avec les Frites,” a section of the menu that is all served with french fries, but “les Frites” are a cut above, especially when they accompany the most flavorful steak you can imagine. And the Mussels in White Wine Sauce? Très magnifique!
The menu changes seasonally, making the current offerings a perfect match for winter. Tagliatelles aux Champignons offered a mix of fresh seasonal mushrooms in a divine truffle and porcini cream, a lovely vegetarian option, while the traditional Boeuf Bourguignon is melt-in-your-mouth winter comfort. Pair it with a soft cheese polenta or “Choux Rouge Braisé au lard et 5 épices”, an Alsatian-style braised red cabbage that will forever change how you look at cabbage.
Desserts + Drinks To Dive Into
After such a fantastic meal, it would be a shame to skip dessert, so dive into Îles Flottantes, islands of vanilla meringue floating in crème Anglaise, or Mocha Pot de Crème with sea salt caramel and Chantilly crème. A special the night we visited? Fig Tarte, a true treat, or there’s always Tarte Tatin, a caramel apple tart.
And dive into the cocktail and wine menu. Mon Chou Chou’s bar is fun to watch as you enjoy your meal and the cocktails are picture-perfect. From a French Pink Ferry to La Vie en Rose (yes!), the flavors are perfect, making Mon Chou Chou a perfect spot for happy hour as well.
Brasserie Mon Chou Chou: 312 Pearl Parkway, San Antonio TX 78215 (Near the entrance to Hotel Emma)
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Cover photo courtesy JP Garrigues
An award-winning writer and communications expert who runs Tale to Tell Communications, Dawn Robinette loves to tell stories about her adopted hometown of San Antonio. You can read more of her work at Alamo City Moms, San Antonio Woman and Rio Magazine.