I will admit to being a bit of a Francophile. I’m pretty sure it began in elementary school where we started leaning French in the 3rd grade. The language was so suave, so “oooo-la-la” to the ears of a 9-10 year old. And the photos we saw during our lessons- castles! So many castles! So fancy! I think that’s when I decided I was going to be an international model when I grew up (spoiler alert: that didn’t happen). But this isn’t an article about the unrealized dreams of grade schooler. It’s about food- French food- and in particular, fabulous French food you can enjoy on our beautiful island.
Over on the Kona side, just south of all of the car dealerships on Nalani Street, is a nondescript off-white building on the mauka side of the road (Kuakini Plaza South). Housed in this building is La Bourgogne, which is anything but nondescript.
The interior reads classic French- richly colored walls, low ceilings, intimate banquettes. The menu also reads classic French: escargots, foie gras, rabbit, duck, French onion soup, pâté, etc.
On a recent visit for a birthday celebration, I started with the foie gras and scallops as an appetizer. The foie was beautifully scored and seared and the scallops were beautifully browned. Accompanied by poached apples with a shallot and Demi glacé reduction, it was sublime.
For my entree, I went with the duck confit on a bed of rustic beans and chorizo. I adore suck confit, and this was cooked sous vide and crisped to perfection. The bean and chorizo base reminded me of the slow-cooked cassoulets I adored when I lived in France. “Peasant” food at its highest level of sophistication and execution.
En fin, I couldn’t resist the creme brûlée for dessert. I am particular (some might say fussy or “difficult”) about creme brûlée- it must coat the tongue smoothly without a tasting eggy; have a good balance of the vanilla; and the crust must crack with conviction. La Bourgogne’s checked all the boxes and definitely has my seal of approval.
Since 1988, La Bourgogne has been serving classic French cuisine on the Big Island. Here’s to the next 30+ years!