One of the issues with long term travel through the countryside in France is that at some point you will get sick of all that gorgeous French food. As a New Yorker, I am spoiled and used to getting what I want, when I want it. In France, you have to take what you want when you can get it. Imagine my delight when I ran into 4 year old Koki Japanese Restaurant in the middle of Beaune.
If you get to experience Franco-Japanese food, you should be happy. Some of the best meals I have ever had have either been by a French chef doing Japanese or by a Japanese chef doing French. These types of chefs usually end up combining la technique with Japanese austerity for amazing results.
The Chef behind Koki is Laurent Peugeot who studied under some big Burgundian chefs and then spent four years in Japan. He is building an empire and my first experience with his concepts was good.
Koki is located in the city of Beaune which is known for its hospices and wine auction. It is a tiny walled city, and it is as French as anything gets. The concept is Franco-Japanese AND casual. I walked in on a Thursday before the Hospices de Beaune wine auction. The place was empty and the chefs were prepping dumplings for the insanity of the weekend to come.
We had our choice of seating and chose to sit at the bar where we could watch the chefs hard at work. The restaurant offers a small menu (always a good thing). The dinner menu was only 1 page long and offered choices between €4, €6, €8, and €12. There was also a small tasting menu (which the chef allowed us to choose from – very nice touch).
We almost ate everything on the menu. Here’s what we tried:
The chicken and ginger raviolis were delicious. First off, they, were super fresh and made right in front of us. They were light, elegant, and flavorful.
I could have had an entire bowl of the Veloute Chaud, this was a warm vegetable and beef broth colored by radishes and cabbage. This was definitely more French than Japanese, but I loved it because it was so comforting. This dish was unpretentious, grandma could have made this for you, but she didn’t. It was simple and delicious.
The Bruschetta en retour de marche was a gorgeous hunk of bread with sweet chorizo, and incredibly fresh tomato, and melted cheese. I could not place this in either Japan or France, but who cares. It was awesome.
The Foie gras de canard en retour de marche was the stuff that dreams are made of. It came with grilled grapes and a sweet compote that enhanced the flavors of the foie. Miam miam.
Mac KOKO, hamburger maison, this was their version of a burger. The buns were more of what I’d consider a Southern biscuit. The meat was juicy and interlaced with something that was not beef and added an incredible flavor to the meat. It also came with perfectly grilled veggies. So damned good.
We also had the tallarin and escargot roll off the tasting menu (it’s not a Burgundian meal without escargot). Again, it was elegant and delicious.
On a final note, don’t go to Koki expecting a 3 star Michelin meal. Go to Koki for perfectly executed Franco-Japanese comfort food. Expect to go, have a good time, and not break the bank.
Koki is located at 10 Place Félix Ziem, 21200 Beaune, France.
Hours of Opetaion
Koki is open 7/7 non-stop service from June to September.