Vin De Set News

3 Tips for Dining at French Restaurants

November 25th, 2015 posted in Uncategorized

french restaurants, french bistro, lafayette square stl,

We know that French restaurants can be as intimidating as french cuisine, but they don’t have to be! Dining at a French bistro can be a wonderfully intimate experience and is a great place to reach outside of your comfort zone. But what if you’re not an adventurous eater? Or frankly, what if you just don’t know where to start? Here are a few tips for dining in French restaurants for your first time.

Look for French restaurants with an approachable menu

One of the best routes to take when trying to decide on a French restaurant is to look at its menu. Many French restaurants in America slightly differentiate from truly traditional French cuisine and a more American twist. This is a great way to prep your palate before diving into a strong traditional French menu.

Savor Each Bite

This is idea is part of the French mentality and permeates through much of their culture. Don’t be afraid to sample an hors d’oeuvres platter at the French restaurant, in addition to your salads, entrees, and desserts! Take each bite slowly and truly enjoy the individual flavors that go into every dish. Good French restaurants will have very involved recipes and in order to get the full experience you will need to take your time and taste!


As the French say, “Life’s too short to drink bad wine!” Enjoy a glass (or two or three!) of very good wine with your meal. If you’re unsure of what to order, ask your server or the on-staff sommelier. Liberal wine consumption is a huge part of the French dining experience, and when your choice of wine is made correctly, it will heighten the flavors of your meal!

Cooking the Best Beignets

November 12th, 2015 posted in Uncategorized

best savory beignets

Beignets, you love them and so do we! While you may be used to the traditional sweet dough beignet, we have a fun savory spin for mixing up your in home cooking! This is a relatively simple dish, when you get down to it, but the result will have your taste buds screaming for more! Serve these to your dinner guests and they’ll be back every night. Here are some tips from the chef on making the best savory beignets in St. Louis!
While a traditional beignet comprises yeast dough, with set rising time, here is a quick way to present a savory beignet.

Take whatever filling you’d like to use. We use a crab seafood mixture with spices. “Using mascarpone cheese to hold it together is a great idea,” says Executive Chef Ryan Buettner. “It allows the beignet to keep it shape.”

How to make the best savory beignets:

First, roll the mixture in seasoned flour; any kind will do as long as it complements your flavors. This allows the tempura batter to stick. Then dip the mixture into a temper battering and deep-fried.

We use a spicy crab mixture with mascarpone cheese to make our beignets, but there are a variety of options you could use to fill your savory beignet. Even using a vegetable, like zucchini or broccoli, in a tempura batter gives a great result.  With those the tempura batter should stick directly to the vegetable and you won’t need to use seasoned flour in between.

If you’re looking to stick with seafood in your beignet, shrimp or crawfish make a great substitute. But there’s always ham and cheddar for a decidedly American twist.

The trick is to really make sure that the mixture you want to use inside of your beignets is holding together nicely. “You don’t want the inside mixture falling out when you go to fry it,” says Chef Buettner.

Take your beignets up a notch by serving them with an appropriate dipping sauce such an aioli or roux.

Bouillabaisse: An Approachable Recipe

October 1st, 2015 posted in Uncategorized

bouillabaisse, french cuisine, french restaurants

Bouillabaisse is not an easily replicated dish! This traditional fish stew can be intimidating, but that’s no reason to avoid jumping in headfirst. That’s why we aim to provide an approachable version of this French classic, making French cuisine available to everyone. For those of you with the gumption to tackle this at home, here are a few tips from our chef on making the best bouillabaisse.

Bouillabaisse Broth

The first step to a great bouillabaisse, or any soup, is the broth. Using only the highest quality ingredients, we start by sautéing 3 onions and 3 heads of fennel.

“We want to make sure that we sweat out the onion and fennel to draw out the flavors . The trick is to cook them low and slow. Adding a dash of salt during the sautéing process will help make sure this happens,” says Ryan Buettner, Executive Chef of Vin de Set.

When the onions and fennel are soft, deglaze with Pernod and add 20 sliced Roma tomatoes, 2 ounces saffron, 1 cup of roasted orange zest, 4 bay leaves, 4 quarts of water and 8 ounces of lobster stock.

Bring to a boil and let simmer for 30 minutes. Set aside for use later


Soak 3 loaves of day-old bread (crust removed) in Skim milk overnight. The next day, squeeze out the milk and place bread in a food processor. Add 3 roasted red peppers, 1-cup whole garlic, 1-tablespoon Tabasco, and salt and pepper to taste. Blend while adding 1-cup olive oil until you have a smooth paste. Set aside for use later.


In a large pan, sauté 2 ounces of swordfish, 2 ounces of turbot, 2 ounces of sole and 2 ounces of corvine with ½ cup yellow onion and ½ cup sliced fennel. Deglaze with 3 ounces of Pernod.

“Make sure to sear the fish on high heat before adding the onions and fennel to sauté,” says Buettner. This seals in the unique flavors of the fish, creating that perfect first bite.

Add 8 ounces of the previously made broth, ¼ cup diced tomatoes, 1-tablespoon tarragon, 1-tablespoon butter, and salt and pepper to taste. Boil until fish is cooked.

Pour Bouillabaisse into serving bowls. Top 3 (or more if you’d like) crostini with 1 ounce of the rouille and place in each bowl.

Bon Appetite!