31° Partly Cloudy

RED BANK: O BISTRO TAKEOUT? MAIS OUI!

The former Red Bank Pizza storefront on Bridge Avenue has been reincarnated as the to-go counter of O Bistro Francais. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

When chef Marc Fontaine opened O Bistro Francais in Red Bank a year ago, local gourmets rejoiced at the return of top-quality French cooking after a six-year absence from town.

Now, Fontaine has turned the disused former storefront pizzeria end of his Bridge Avenue restaurant into a takeout counter to supplement the linen-napkin dining room. And once again, Francophile eaters are over the moon.

Read More »

WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? DREAMY O BISTRO CREPE

110116o-bistro4Shrimp, scallops and chopped clams swimming in a creamy herb-flecked sauce are folded into a tender crepe and served with a side salad at O Bistro Francais. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

WFL what's for lunch?A big old barn of a building on Bridge Avenue in Red Bank is now home to the much anticipated French restaurant, O Bistro Francais.

Following the arrows along the side of the building to a door crowned by a French flag, PieHole finds a new entrance, an interior whipped up in cloud-like shades of white and dove-gray, and familiar faces. Traditional French fare from the kitchen of chef Marc Fontaine is all the enticement we need to slide into a booth and indulge.
Read More »

FRENCH OUT. THAI, PERUVIAN & ICE CREAM IN.

Marc Fontaine outside the now-closed Bienvenue, which will become a Thai restaurant. Fontaine plans to open a pastry shop on Monmouth Street. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rcsm2_010508Restaurant-crazy Red Bank’s ethnic pot is getting stirred again.

For Francophiles, the news is bad, as Bienvenue, the only French restaurant for miles around, has closed.

Those hankering for another Thai choice, though, will get their wish, as one moves into the space Bienvenue vacated last month, at the corner of East Front Street and Wharf Avenue.

Bienvenue’s chef, Marc Fontaine, meantime, plans to open a pastries and crepes café at 8 Monmouth Street.

Farther west on Monmouth, work has resumed on yet-to-open Peruvian restaurant after months of inactivity.

And, for dessert, a homemade ice cream shop plans to open before summer begins on White Street, in the space held by the short-lived Nina’s Waffles.

Read More »

AU REVOIR, BIENVENUE

frederic-vidal1Bienvenue owner Frederic Vidal is handing over the keys to the restaurant to a New York-based chef at the end of the month, when Vidal and his wife, Audrey, high-tail it to sunny Florida. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

He came, he accomplished his goal to inject Red Bank with some authentic French fare, and now he’s escaping New Jersey’s harsh winters for the land of sunshine and gated communities, Boca Raton, Fla.

Four years after taking over Le Petit France and renaming it Bienvenue, France native Frederic Vidal, along with his wife, Audrey, are turning over their tiny dining space to a New York-based chef on February 27. Just last week the couple signed a lease on a space where they’ll open a French deli and catering business.

The move, Vidal said, is largely based on the weather, but at 37 years old, he’s also looking to tackle a new project.

Read More »