Thursday Evening: Part Deux (two)
Rarely does the ambiance and interiors of a restaurant transport you to the place of inspiration as much as the proprietor desires. That is not the case at Felix Cocktails et Cuisine on upper King St. While it is nondescript on the outside, it is perfectly French on the inside from the art and decor to the tables, the music and the uniform for the staff. Oh yeah, and then there is the food which completes the journey. The only thing that could make it more authentic is a staff with French accents, but that just is silly! Felix is on point, and I loved my first visit with many to follow.
Felix Cocktails et Cuisine
This was originally the only planned excursion of the evening until I saw the Slovenian Wine Tasting at Edmunds Oast Exchange. Karen was on board, so we adjusted our departure and happily did the tasting before we headed to Felix. When we arrived, the place was hopping. There was nary a seat at the bar, and it looked like there was a wait for a table, but the staff quickly moved the folks in front of us to the remaining empty tables. We were told the only two seats available were at one of the community tables. Not a problem, we were seated immediately.
Felix Cocktails: Beverage Please
Our server, Maria was quick with water and our beverage order. The cocktail list looked awesome, but I am not a hard liquor fan, so after a quick scan, I moved to the wine list. I did note that my friend Joe back in Chicago would have loved seeing a Sidecar was on the list. So bourgeois!
The wine list is compact with 33 wines covering all the bases. My only surprise was that I expected the wine list to be 100% French wines. Especially for a restaurant that worked so hard to provide “the complete French Bistro feel.” Ok, maybe I am overly picky but with such a compacted list giving nine slots to other regions seems like a lot.
Domaine Benoit Badoz, Crémant du Jura, Rosé Brut, NV, France
I have been on a sparkling wine kick and a fan of wines from Jura AOC, so I had to order a glass of the Domaine Benoit Badoz, Crémant du Jura, Rosé Brut, NV
($10.00). Crémant is the French word to describe sparkling wines in most other regions of France. Sparkling wine is Champagne, only if grown and produced in the Champagne AOC.
This wine is a blend of Poulsard and Pinot Noir to form a fresh, fruity, easy to drink cocktail. I did not parse this wine as I was out for dinner. Just know it was delicious and I ordered a second glass to go with my dinner.
Felix Cuisine: Where Do We Begin
The dining experience at Felix is all about small plates, all with the flare of Paris. There is nothing on the menu that says “main course” but there certainly are. Some are definitely appetizers and other are definitely meals.
We started with two appetizers that we would both enjoy (sorry grilled octopus, I really wanted you!). We chose the Lobster Deviled Eggs with chive, celery, espelette (peppers), dijon topped with lobster and brown butter crumb ($9.00). Next was the Crab Croquettes with pistou (sauce), crispy okra, radish, and sprouts ($10.00)
I had heard about the Lobster Deviled Eggs so they were a must and they did not disappoint. The egg yolk filling was creamy and rich with a balanced spice to allow the delicate lobster to shine through in every bite.
These three little croquettes were perfectly crisp on the outside and soft and flavorful on the inside. The pistou (a sauce of garlic basil and olive oil) and the radish raised it all to another level. So good. So small. I needed more.
As you can see from the pictures, there were three of each on both plates. Ah, the dilemma? Do we split these petit bites or do we draw straws to see who gets what? Me, being the gentleman that I am let Karen choose. She took the deviled egg, and I got the croquette. I won no matter which she chose.
The Croque Monsieur was calling my name. I L.O.V.E. Croque Monsieur. However, I would call myself a “croque” snob, so I asked Maria. My question was it a true Parisian Croque Monsieur or a derivative of the original? Her response was cute. She said, it was close but what is my second choice. I was thrilled with her honesty. I will order it another time because I must, but I will prepare myself for something other than the original.
So Karen ordered the Petit Steak-Frites: Brasstown grass-fed organic sirloin,beurre rouge, delicate local greens, served with pomme frites (prepared in duck fat) ($19.00). I have to assume that Karen was thrilled with her plate as her plate was empty when she was done. I did not taste hers because I was captivated with my meal. All I can tell you that it was cooked perfectly per her request.
Please, no grief… I ordered the Raclette Burger: Brasstown grass-fed organic beef, caramelized onion, dijonnaise, raclette (cheese), on a sesame bun served with frites ($15.00). I know, I ordered a classic American meal. But it definitely had a French twist, and I was craving meat and did not want to order the same thing as Karen.
I know this may be difficult to understand, but this was the best burger I have ever had in my life. THE BEST EVER! When I got home and told Gary this, he was puzzled and asked, “What makes it so good?”
So here is the breakdown. Typically when you order a sit-down restaurant burger, you may have options for additional items like cheddar, American or Swiss cheese, bacon, chili, fried egg, tomato, pickles, lettuce, etc. And of course condiments like mustard, ketchup, and mayonnaise. But Felix makes all those decisions for you. So I decided that I would not alter what they have offered as it seems complete. You get two three-ounce grass-fed organic burgers cooked on a flattop grill. Each patty is wholly covered in Raclette which melts over the entire patty with some landing on the flattop and caramelizing. The burgers are stacked and then topped with a mound of caramelized onions and dijonnaise (a blend of Dijon mustard and mayonnaise) all on a semi-firm exterior, pillowy interior sesame-topped bun.
The burgers are juicy and tender and clean. I took my first bite, then just stared at the burger as all the flavors come together. As I swallow all I can then do is smile. I could not put it down. I do not know how to explain it any further other than the chef knows what kind of experience her guests have. She nails it. She takes a classic American icon and turns it on its head.
What is Raclette?
FYI – Raclette is a semi-hard cow’s milk Swiss cheese. It is has a very distinctive pleasant, aromatic smell with a creamy texture, similar to Gruyere cheeses, which does not separate even when melted. It is milky, nutty, sweet and is most commonly used for melting for a traditional Swiss dinner where a half a wheel of cheese is put against a heat source and as it melts, it is scraped onto a plate to enjoy with potatoes, gherkins, pickled onions and dried sausages.
One Last Thing: A Condiment Note
We ate ketchup with our frites. How American of us. When speaking to Felix (the owner), Karen mentions that she wishes they had mayonnaise for the frites. We do learn that they have a jalpeño aoli and a sunchoke aoli. We asked for ketchup, so that is what we got.
FYI: It is believed by many that the French invented frites aka French Fries, but that is not the case. Historians tell us that Belgium is the home to this classic American side dish that we have designated as French. Mayonnaise on fries also originated in Belgium. Originally the French ate frites with a rémoulade or French style mustard. However, mayonnaise, ketchup, vinegar, aoli, etc. are now used all over the world.
I highly recommend Felix Cocktails et Cuisine. On a Thursday evening in winter, every bar stool was filled and if you did not have a reservation you were sat at one of two community tables. So make a reservation. They use on their website or on the Resy mobile app.
Felix is located at 550 King Street. They are open for dinner only from 4:00 pm to 10:00 pm Sun to Thurs and until 11:00 pm on Fri & Sat. PH: 843-203-6297
That is all for now.
I was a paying guest and was not compensated in any way for this post. I just really enjoyed my experience.