Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Sometimes I believe that restaurants are capable of human speech, and that their vocabularies can be quite extensive. Yet in my experience, I've found most say one of two things to us once we've been properly introduced. The first type of establishment, be it fine dining or hole-in-the-wall, is quite Texan in their approach, saying "Howdy! Come on in!!" The second type tends to be much louder and practically screams, "You Don't Belong Here! Please Vacate Our Premises At Once." Whether it's the decor, the hostess, or just the general vibe, you instantly get the impression that you are not one of their preferred customers and you'd be better off dining somewhere else. Does this sound familiar? I'm sure many of you particularly feel that way about French fine dining establishments, what with their (to our ears) peculiar mode of speech and pronunciations, and general all-around Frenchness. Some of you would immediately feel put off, as if you have entered the second type of restaurant noted above. Well, pardner, let me assure you such is not always the case. Many French restauranteurs can be downright warm and effusive once you get to know them, and food can be actually quite unpretentious and enjoyable. My lovely wife the Rock Star and I actually confirmed these findings recently at Mignon, a thorougly French, totally unpretentious establishment located in the wilds of West Plano.

Atmospherically, Mignon is very bistro-like, a concept I wish more places would embrace, invoking the spirit of 1960's Paris. This means, of course, lots of casual French posters and artwork. Square tables sporting green chairs and semi-formal glass-and-silverware. Curvy booths. Separate patio set with metal chairs overlooking a small fountain. In other words, as informal as all-get-out, like a friendly French place should be. We were seated at once and began to peruse menu and wine list.

Foodwise, our repast was outstanding, once we got past our initial disappointment concerning the wine list. My lovely wife and myself love French wine, but sadly, Mignon stocks mostly California vintages and the French vintages they do stock are on the expensive side. So, after some consideration, we decided on Caldwell Flame Jumper by the glass, which proved to pair quite well with our cuisine and had a bit more spice then most French-style syrahs. I have to admit that when in Paris (so to speak), I usually bypass other Francophilic dishes and head straight for the steak. Let's face it, I'm a true Texan, and I definitely appreciate how the French prepare their beef, generally choosing only prime or top of the choice, and showing particular reverence toward sauces. Such was the case at Mignon. Their steaks are prime, and my wife really enjoyed her New York strip, presented precisely medium-rare (she's my kind of gal!) with Yukon potatoes and grilled asparagus, topped with a blue cheese and sherry reduction. Delightfully old-school stuff, as was my Prime Filet Au Poivre (a retro peppery presentation that was big back in the day), topped with peppercorn brandy sauce and sided with forest mushroom, spinach, and red wine risotto. I requested mine rare, and they delivered as promised. (I've learn to order rare in fine dining establishments for best flavor; if I'm in a second-tier place, I stick to medium rare.) The steak was fantastic, the risotto lovely, although I would have preferred potatoes. Even though we took plenty of leftovers home, we somehow found room for chocolate ganache cake, with raspberry coulis and creme anglais. After eating this delectable goodie, I now know why ganache is all the rage.

Service was unstuffy, unpretentious, and thoroughly helpful, not to mention unobtrusive unless you needed them. Website is www.mignonplano.com. Once again, I found a delightul French establishment and we'll definitely be back. Please listen to your restaurant soon, and remember:



Margie said...

I haven't even had breakfast yet. Man, that makes me hungry!

Food Czar said...

How about brunch, Margie? Something nice and French! Mas oui!!