Is “Modern French” the New Buzzword?

By Megan Giller  |  August 28, 2013

A few weeks ago we got into a raucous argument with a few dinner companions about French restaurants in Austin. Why? It seems that plenty of restaurants are being described as “modern French” lately, but the definition is still up for grabs. For example, Lenoir, Arro, epicerie and Hopfields have all been characterized that way, though the locales’ influences range from Southeast Asian to Cajun. And even more classic French locales like Olivia, Blue Dahlia and Justine’s feature menu items like fried chicken, chicken salad and spaghetti Bolognese. We asked epicerie’s owner and chef Sarah McIntosh what she thought of the term, and she said,

“I don’t know if I know the answer. If I had to guess, I’d say it’s just a new take on the French classics using new techniques. A lot of the classics are heavy and hearty and over the top, so maybe [we're] toning it down a little bit, because we don’t like to eat like that anymore. A new interpretation of the old stuff.”

What do you think? What does “modern French” mean to you? Tell us in the comments below.