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Mash Files: A Chef’s Dream in Paris

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Brooklyn Brewery Chef Andrew Gerson spends lots of time on the road with our Mash Tour. Today, hear more about his time in Paris cooking with the world-famous team at Septime.

Paris is the motherland for a chef. Teeming with decadent bistros, cafes, patisseries, boulangeries, cheese shops, and  butchers, where you can stumble upon a menagerie of deliciousness around every corner. Walking the streets of Paris you start to realize that this one street of wonder seems to be repeated over and over again on every other Rue. But when one has had their fill of traditional Foie Gras terrines, escargot drowned in aromatic herbed butter, steak au poivre, or chewy and flavor full blood rare bavette, you only have to find your way to the 11th Arrondissement for some respite.  

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On Rue de Charonne, a main street that intersects this hub of artists, food pioneers, and bon vivants, there is Septime and Clamato. Chef and owner Bertrand Grebaut is one of the young chefs revolutionizing the Parisian food experience. This rebellion is nothing new. Chefs tired of the white tablecloth pomp and circumstance have been changing the way Parisians eat for a few years now, but none quite so deliciously as Bertrand and his team.

The relaxed atmosphere, casual but attentive service, and dedication to constantly rotating local menus sourced at the nearby market seems like a Brooklyn construct but tastes of Parisian perfection.  Bertrand takes magnificent products and seasons them expertly to allow their flavors to shine. His improvisational menus keep him and the team constantly seeking new ideas from menus that range from composed light, fresh dishes to hearty comfort foods more reminiscent of the French tradition.  

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Preservation of food traditions is important, especially when the traditions are such a key part of national identity like France and Italy. But it is also necessary to grow, to explore and to innovate. These places are not a far departure from the classic French sensibility of more butter, intensely reduced bone sauces, and dairy rich plates, but they do offer a fresh take that is refreshing and beyond satisfying.

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Along with this new wave of restaurants Paris is also embracing beer at the table as more and more top-quality domestics, imports and locally crafted beers become easily available.  I think this idea of casual dining with Michelin quality cuisine is the perfect platform to showcase the versatility of beer and its ability to elevate a dining experience, and this is exactly what we did at Septime.

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From tuna crudo in a light, refreshing tomato broth to smoked guinea hen, diners got to taste a slew of limited and unreleased beers that matched the nuance and complexity of these dishes with an acuity that will make our guests question their wine choices the next time they order a beverage with their meal. Whether it’s to accompany a simple plate of snails, or a shrimp crudo with seaweed, plums and smoked vinegar, beer is their answer.  

 

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