BEST FRENCH RESTAURANT - 2007
Fugaise - CLOSED
Readers' Choice: Vincent—A Restaurant
Most Minneapolis chefs are loathe to acknowledge any French roots to their cooking. "What? we are chef-driven!" they cry. "Fusion! Everything you see on these plates sprung from our very own heads!" Not so at Fugaise where young chef Don Saunders is unafraid to pay tribute to the French culinary heritage to which we all owe so much. A recent menu featured bistro classics like oysters gratin ($14), made modern by searing their cheese-dusted lids just until the tops bubbled but the undersides were fresh and oceanic, and daube de boeuf ($22) served classically in a tureen with a puff-pastry top. Heck, that menu even used sauce Choron, something most chefs in town haven't thought of since they wrote it on a flash card in cooking school. Little do most chefs know that most restaurant-goers are so bored with (universally tasteless) tuna tartare that we yearn for new good things—and if they're based on old good things, who cares? They're new to us. Could classic French cuisine be the new hot thing? Two-year-old Fugaise certainly has been packing them in for the inexpensive lunch (omelettes with frites, $9), a feat few fine-dining restaurants in this town can pull off these days. Just goes to prove: strong roots, strong tree.