Food + Dining Main

Dining Review: The French Brasserie Rustique

Thanks to chef-owner Vincenzo Betulia, you can eat like you’re in Paris—and feel like you’re there, too.

  Fine French restaurants are like diamonds—you can never have too many. So when I heard that Southwest Florida was gaining another take on the French brasserie, I was delighted. And when I learned that chef Vincenzo Betulia of Osteria Tulia and Bar Tulia local fame was behind the new venture, I knew we’d hit the culinary jackpot. The French Brasserie Rustique—or, as it’s known colloquially, The French—sits on Fifth Avenue South in Naples and feels, in fact, like two separate restaurants. The outside dining area is quintessential Fifth Avenue, with white lights strung from the trees in the courtyard and pink bougainvillea climbing white marble columns. The vibe is upscale and refined. Inside, the restaurant feels exactly like the kind of French brasserie you might enjoy in Paris, with white and black mosaic tiles on the floor, red-leather banquettes and a convivial, boisterous atmosphere. Pick either one—outside or inside, Naples or Paris—and you’re sure to experience some of the finest French food in the area, both timeless recipes and those born in this millennium. On this particular night, my companions and I chose a diverse array for our first course. I ordered an exquisite plate of foie gras ($23), pan-seared and served over brioche toast with slices of pear poached in port wine. On the recommendation of our waitress, one friend opted for the lamb loin carpaccio ($18). The thin-sliced lamb arrived with circles of gr
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