Tonight, Josh and I had a late dinner at Fradgi, a French meat restaurant about a 5 minute walk away from our new apartment. The menu was expensive and closely resembled the menu at Nini, which we had eaten at two weeks prior. In fact, most of the Meat French style restaurants have extremely similar menus consisting mostly of a large selection of meat dishes, two or three chicken items, a variety of Fish dishes, and various types of couscous (mostly with beef tagine). The side dishes are almost always frites, pasta, and green beans (the plain boiled ones that I have referenced several times before). Since it was freezing outside, and Fradgi is the closest restaurant to our apartment besides for Nini, we decided to eat here.
The inside décor of the restaurant bore a strong resemblance to Nini and Les Ailes. This must be the typical atmosphere in Kosher meat restaurants that serve French cuisine. There was also a TV screen in the corner of the restaurant with the France vs. Tel Aviv football (soccer) game. It was humorous to see older gentleman having what looked like business dinners and sophisticated well-dressed couples eating dinner with their eyes glued to the game and periodically cheering when a goal was scored.
When we sat down, our server brought us free bread and a variety of salads (as is also done at Nini). The bread was great- crunchy and crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. I was less than thrilled with the selection of salads, and feared that this would not bode well for the rest of the meal. The salads included a bowl of beats, shredded cabbage, spiced carrots, and potatos covered in mayonnaise. I asked the waiter if there were any other dips available, and he looked at me like I was rude for asking- I should have known better by now!
I was going to order the Tuna steak, but the restaurant was out of Tuna. My next thought was to order the breaded chicken cutlet, but I did not want to eat it without some kind of dipping sauce. The waiter told me that other than ketchup, there is no sauce that he would be able to bring me for my chicken. I finally decided to order couscous with fish. It would be good for me to deviate from my normal order and try something new tonight. So many Kosher French restaurants serve couscous, and there must be a good reason why the dish is so popular. Furthermore, today is Tuesday, and Tuesday nights are the only nights that they serve couscous with fish. Otherwise, all of the couscous dishes are served with meat, so I had to cease the day.
Josh ordered the filet mignon, but they were out of filet. He was disappointed since that is what he really wanted. The waiter suggested that he order the Entrecote instead, so he ordered it with fries. He asked if he could have half fries and half green beans (what he normally orders), but they wouldn’t grant his request. For a restaurant with a small menu to begin with, they were out of too many items!
I didn’t expect to like my couscous as much as I did. The dish came with a large bowl of plain couscous, another bowl of gravy, and a plate with some kind of white fish, deep fried fish balls, and stewed vegetables (potatoes, carrots, and zucchini), all covered in the gravy as well. The meal was extremely satisfying, and the portions were generous. The gravy complemented the contents of the dish perfectly. The couscous was fluffy and was excellent when mixed together with the gravy, the fish, and the flavorfull vegetables. The fish fillet was moist and delicious, and the fish balls really tasted like latkes! This is the second time over Chanukah that I have ordered food, which resembled the taste of latkes. Josh and I have regretfully not eaten a single latke over the eight days of Chanukah. Most of the Kosher bakeries are selling jelly doughnuts. We have searched far and wide, but latkes are not a Chanukah staple for Parisian Jews.
Josh was not a fan of his entrecote or his fries. The fries were soggy and oily, and lacked any flavor. Even with salt, they couldn’t be saved. His steak was covered in a thick mushroom sauce. He spent most of the meal trying to cut the fat off of his entrecote and wiping the thick layer of gravy off of the steak. After the fat was removed from his dish, he ended up eating less than what was left on his plate. We thought it quite humorous that I ultimately enjoyed my meal significantly more than he did, while I initially feared that I wouldn’t like anything on the menu. I would recommend the couscous at Fragdi, but unless you like your entrecote really fatty, order something else off of the menu.