Uncorked; Le Bouchon Bistro
by Donna Malloy
Photo by Donna Malloy Le Bouchon’s Wine Bar. Partners Richard File (left) and Chef Christian Routier are ready to uncork their extensive inventory of French wines nightly starting at 5:00 p.m. Complimentary hors de oeuvres will also be available; featured is the Chef’s famous “Cassoulet de Toulouse.”
Eight years ago, Chef Christian Routier, a graduate of the Auch Culinary School, left his beloved “Pink City” of Toulouse, France, and headed for America.
“I was only going to stay for one year” stated Routier.
“But then, one year became two, and so on.”
Fortunately for us, Head Chef Routier landed in Belleair Bluffs and together with partner Richard File, opened Le Bouchon Bistro at 796 N. Indian Rocks Road six years ago. Translated, “Le Bouchon” means cork and true to its name, the French restaurant features an extensive wine selection.
“All French wines” boasts Routier. “Le Bouchon features a particular Madiran wine from the Gers Region of France because it is good for you.” The Madiran wine is a mix of 60% Tannat, 20% Cabernet Franc and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Population studies tabulated by Times Online (www.timesonline.co.uk) concluded that red wine from the two French regions of Nuoro and Gers, in conjunction with a typical Mediterranean diet, produced beneficial cardiovascular results. Both regions were selected for testing as a result of census data that showed that the people from these two regions lived longer than the average population.
To compliment your wine selection, numerous specials are featured nightly at Le Bouchon. On this particular Saturday night, Chef Routier’s varied selection included Scallops Provencales, Beef Tenderloin, Grilled Tuna with Lemon Pepper, Rib eye Steak Bordelaise, Cassoulet de Toulouse, Lamb Shanks and Red Grouper in Lemon Basil sauce; surrounded in an atmosphere of flowing voile curtains and white linen table cloths. It’s no wonder that a large percentage of their clientele are women, according to Chef Routier.
The Cassoulet is Chef Routier’s personal recipe, one he cooked often in his numerous restaurants in France. “It’s made with beans, garlic sausage, pork and duck” and Chef Routier makes his own sausage. In addition, Le Bouchon offers the expected French Onion Soup although in France, “we just call it onion soup” stated Routier with a smile.
Also open for lunch, Le Bouchon is known in the neighborhood for its light crepes. You can order a single, paper thin, 6-inch crepe folded over your selection of French fillings such as sautéed chicken tossed in a creamy Chardonnay sauce, served with a spring leaf salad and crusty French baguette for $7.50.
And what lunch would not include a pizza entree? For $10.50, you can savor a personalized, 10-inch pizza made with a thin crust of whole wheat and herbs, topped with fresh tomato slices (not sauce) combined with your choice of a mixed herb spread, such as their “Toulouse,” sautéed chicken with onions and blue cheese. The pizzas are great for a light lunch or as a shared appetizer for a tasty snack.
“We deliver to businesses in the neighborhood” stated partner File. “It’s a new service and one we want people to know about.” Le Bouchon also caters business meetings, graduations, holidays, wedding receptions, etc.
To compliment your $5.00 glass of wine weekdays Monday through Thursday at their “Wine Bar,” Le Bouchon features a different complimentary hors de oeuvre nightly.
Happy hour starts at 5:00 p.m. through 7:00 p.m.
Le Bouchon is open for lunch Monday through Friday, from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Dinner is served Monday through Saturday, from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. With a seating capacity of 45, reservations are not required unless for large parties. For further information, please visit their website: lebouchonbistro.com or call 727-585-9777.
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