Chef Franck Bacquet’s name has become synonymous with French cuisine in the Boise area over the years.
First, he owned and operated a small wine bar, which doubled as a charcuterie and cheese shop, in Boise Towne Square mall. Next up, Bacquet went into full-blown restaurant mode when he opened Le Coq Rouge on Maple Grove Road in Boise. He ran that French-leaning eatery until 2013.
After closing the restaurant, he was tapped to be the executive chef at Le Coq d’Or at the opulent Chateau des Fleurs in Eagle when it debuted in 2014. Bacquet held that position for about a year and a half. But like most chefs, operating his own restaurant was always on his mind.
When Bacquet, along with his wife Michele, saw that the former Russian Bear Café spot near downtown Eagle had become available, he jumped at the chance to run his own place again.
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The Bacquets then went to work on remodeling the space — all of which they did themselves — to give it a comfy bistro feel.
The dining room has crisp white linen draped over the tables, and the walls are adorned with a hodgepodge of French-inspired pictures and vintage-looking poster art. Alabaster-skinned birch tree branches protrude from a wine barrel and reach up toward the tall ceiling, adding a natural touch.
Another attractive feature is the small wine bar and bottle shop just around the corner from the dining room. The restaurant doesn’t have a printed wine list. Instead, diners can mosey over to the cabinets and coolers — packed with European, Argentine and West Coast American wines — and simply choose a label of their liking.
As is the case with most of Bacquet’s menus, the latest incarnation primarily visits his home country of France, along the way making stops in Italy, Scandinavia, New Orleans and other locales where cuisine reigns supreme. And he certainly knows what to do with snails (go figure!).
Bacquet often makes the rounds in the dining room to ensure that his guests are happy. He’s a gregarious guy with a deep knowledge and passion for food and wine. Most conversations with him end up on those topics.
At night, or actually starting in the afternoon (at 2 p.m., to be exact), diners can enjoy a patio menu that features variations of tarte flambée, a kind of smothered flatbread that’s common in the north of France where Bacquet grew up. The breakout menu also has other small plate offerings.
During an evening visit, it was entirely too hot and smoky (at least for me) to sit outside on the spacious patio. We opted for the cool confines of the dining room. Not long after being seated, we ordered a chilled bottle of Les Jamelles ($26), a dry-style French rosé wine (made with Grenache grapes) that goes with just about everything on the table.
The pale-pink wine, with its mineral and citrus notes, paired especially well with the Ocean tarte flambée ($15). The flatbread boasts a crispy and yeasty stretch of dough, covered with plump shrimp, sweet bay scallops (the little ones), cream, minced onion, herbs, bubbly Swiss cheese and a hint of pesto.
We went full-on French with the escargot de ma grand-mere ($15). As the name suggests, this time-honored dish comes from the recipe book of Bacquet’s grandmother. Six curled shells get served in a compartmentalized ceramic dish with little clamps for grabbing the shells and a demitasse fork for digging out the tender, earthy-tasting land snails — cooked with lots of garlic, butter, fennel and herbs (parsley and dill), finished with buttered bread crumbs. Slices of freshly baked Gaston’s Bakery baguette were close by for soaking up the extra garlic butter.
The acidity of the rosé also bolstered the bold flavors of the carpaccio di prosciutto di Parma ($15/regular dinner menu), an appropriate late-summer choice. The saltiness of the shaved cured ham — drizzled with fragrant lemon-infused olive oil — and large curls of Reggiano Parmigiano tastefully contrasts the crescents of candy-sweet cantaloupe, garnished with locally grown micro corn sprouts.
For good measure, we tagged on some truffle fries ($6), a bowl of hot and crispy pommes frites dusted with pungent truffle salt — ordered from the patio menu.
Starting at 5 p.m., those with larger appetites can order entrées such as slow-cooked duck confit with a local blueberry sauce ($29.50) and New Orleans-inspired shrimp étouffée ($25). Keep in mind, the menu follows the seasons closely, and Bacquet tweaks it every month or so to keep it relevant to the time of year.
Du jour is the modus operandi at lunchtime. The limited menu was designed to take care of office workers and others on short lunch breaks. Every day the kitchen offers two different two-course combinations. You never know what you’re going to get — until it’s time to order.
One day I went for a two-course selection ($12/entrée and dessert) that featured a fillet of wild king salmon (from the Columbia River) baked with pesto, cream, white wine and Reggiano Parmigiano. The melt-in-your-mouth fish came with a small mound of al dente penne pasta coated in the aforementioned pan sauce. For dessert, I received a square of silky lemon cheesecake served next to a puddle of sweet blueberry sauce.
Diners also can order quiche du jour and salad ($13). On this day, Bacquet dished up two wedges of classic quiche Lorraine that had a custard-like egg filling with Swiss cheese and bits of meaty lardons (bacon). The quiche slices flanked a summer mixed greens salad pocked with yellow and red tomatoes and plump blueberries, lightly tossed with balsamic vinaigrette.
It appears that Bacquet has a hit on his hands in Eagle. He and his wife have created a place that encourages people to chillax while enjoying a bottle of wine and nuanced continental cuisine. Plus, there’s live jazz on the patio at night.
Address: 1117 E. Winding Creek Dr., Eagle
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday; closed Monday.
Menu price range: appetizers, salads and soups $6-$19.50; entrées $25-$69.50 (bone-in ribeye steak for two).
Libation situation: The bottle shop gets stocked with select labels (red, white, rosé and sparkling wines) from France, Spain, Italy, Argentina, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and beyond. If wine isn’t your thing, the restaurant also offers three beers on tap (two imports and one Idaho brew).
Kid friendly? Sure. But it’s more for adults.
Wheelchair accessible? Yes
Opened: June 2018