Go on a global culinary adventure without leaving your zip code. Chef Vincenzo Betulia, chef-owner of The French Brasserie Rustique in Naples, unveiled “Tour de France,” a monthly series of specials from the country’s culinary capitals. The specials, which include an optional wine pairing, are created in partnership with Chef Benoît Valota, who recently joined the restaurant from top chef positions at Michelin-starred restaurants in France.
“Chef ‘Ben’ and I have a culinary chemistry that allows us to combine our experience and palates and explore our favorite original dishes from cities in France,” said Betulia. “Each month, a different city is featured with dishes that are indigenous to that city.”
Chef Betulia and Executive Chef Ryan Bleem created the “Tour de France” from a desire to share France’s distinctive cuisines with local diners. The series highlights The French’s celebration of all of the country’s culinary traditions, from its rustic roots to refined dining.
In February, the spotlight is on Nice. Chef Betulia and Chef Valota curated a menu of specialties that includes tuna salad Niçoise and ratatouille, which both originated in this coastal city. Chef Valota, who grew up 20 minutes from Nice in Cannes, is exceptionally versed in the area’s cuisine, as well as the abundance of produce and specialties available in the markets of Old Nice’s historic center. Each dish will be paired with a wine expertly selected by The French’s Wine Director, Marcello Palazzi, with a focus on unique, lesser-known producers from Provence.
The Nice-themed menu begins with tuna crudo a la Niçoise ($24), which honors the seafood-centric cuisine of Nice and puts an elegant spin on the classic dish. Sashimi-grade tuna crudo marinated in olive oil and lemon stars alongside Glasswort, piped egg yolk, and onions pickled in sugar, vinegar, water, and spices.
The main event, a wild striped bass ($48), features a seven-ounce serving of pan-seared fish atop ratatouille, made with zucchini, yellow squash, red pepper, thyme, and rosemary, and slow-cooked as a vegetable stew. The bass is topped with thin strips of raw fennel marinated with olive oil, lemon juice, and chives. The plate is accented with grilled lemon as an homage to Menton, a little town 10 minutes from Nice, famous for its lemon production, and dollops of pistou.
For dessert, indulge in citron tartlette and meringue brûlée ($15), another opportunity to celebrate lemons from Menton.
The Nice menu will be available through February 28. The culinary “Tour de France” will continue throughout 2023. Cities on the calendar to date include St. Tropez, Bordeaux, and Biarritz.