La Nouvelle Maison: Gorgeous & Sophisticated Modern French Classic in East Boca Raton

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La Nouvelle Maison has been named a Fred Bollaci Enterprises Golden Palate Partner and has been awarded the Fred Bollaci Enterprises Golden Palate Certificate of Excellence.

A modern day homage to the late (and beloved) La Vieille Maison (the old house), a Boca Raton landmark on East Palmetto Park Rd. for years, La Nouvelle Maison (the new house), successfully captures the soul of La Vieille’s classic French cuisine, and brings it into the 21st century in an absolutely stunning setting just across the bridge from its inspiration. When La Vieille Maison closed to make way for a condo that never ended up being built, Boca mourned. Gone was a great spot and local favorite and standby for some 30 years in extreme East Boca to indulge in French classics, celebrate a special occasion (or make any occasion special) by being pampered with Old World-style service and excellent cuisine. In its later years however, critics were quick to point out that the “old house” was starting to in fact feel a bit “old” or “dated.” Nonetheless, losing La Vieille was a blow to the community–a missing piece of the good life in Boca, until now. Today, Boca area gourmands have something to celebrate. Arturo Gismondi, owner of one of Boca’s favorites since 1993– Trattoria Romana next door (also a Fred Bollaci Enterprises Golden Palate Partner) had dreamed of opening a French restaurant that could carry on the tradition of La Vieille Maison, except he wanted to breathe new life into the resurrected concept. La Nouvelle Maison accomplishes this with great success–building upon the foundation created by La Vieille and kicking it up several notches with a lighter, more elegant contemporary feel, and flair to the cuisine, proving that the legacy of fine French cuisine in Boca established by La Vieille lives on in the capable hands of Mr. Gismondi.

After years of negotiating with the city to clear permits, designing the space, hand-selecting the elegant, sophisticated interior treatments, and assembling a “dream team” to ensure the restaurant would be a hit and lasting success, a new era in fine dining has begun.

Gismondi went out of his way to ensure that every piece of the puzzle was perfect for his new restaurant’s debut. First, he selected the gracious, consummate host, Guido Barisone to be his partner and manager. Barisone has years of restaurant experience, having owned Flavors of Italy in Coral Springs.

Next, the duo contemplated the cuisine, and decided to modernize and lighten up some of the classics. Aiming high, they selected Chef Gregory Howell, who spent five years as top toque at the renowned Café L’Europe in Palm Beach, also a Fred Bollaci Enterprises Golden Palate Partner. The result is classic and modern French: light and luscious. The decor is absolutely stunning- modern, and elegant, a kind of place that makes you want to dress up. Gismondi commissioned New York artist Mark Kostabi for the colorful oversize mural that immediately grabs your attention as you enter the ethereal surroundings. Every aspect of the meal, from a great wine list (focused on French regional varieties, as well as choice American and international labels), a full (and stylish) bar, and knowledgeable, professional sommelier, prompt and professional staff, and lovely ambience set the stage for a beautiful evening.

As for healthy gourmet, which is what I’m all about, it is easy to enjoy La Nouvelle without overdoing it. Their Steak Tartare Napoleon is delicious and features ground prime Meyer Angus beef, American caviar, anchovy, capers, and shallots, as well as a quail egg– a delicious starter, which we shared. The onion soup is classic beef broth with melted gruyere, which can be left off if you are looking to savor the broth and avoid the extra calories. La Nouvelle also features a cheese menu, as well as a caviar list for those looking to really indulge.

The salads at La Nouvelle are beautiful. We sampled the Baby Iceberg & Roquefort, which came with Petite Laitue Roquefort Cheese, Cucumber Ribbon, Honey Apple, Crispy Duck Prosciutto & House Blue Cheese Dressing, and the light, tropical Florida Salade, which featured Organic Bibb Lettuce, Ruby Red Grapefruit, Florida Orange, Avocado, Warm Almond Crusted Brie Cheese, Dijon Mustard & Banyuls Vinaigrette.

After the delicious starters, it was really difficult to decide on entrees, so we asked our server and Guido which dishes they felt were absolute must-haves on our first visit, dishes that exemplified what the restaurant is all about. In the case of La Nouvelle, everything sounded great (and there are a lot of choices), so we appreciated their guidance. We tried two musts: the pan-seared black cod with au poivre sauce, seared to perfection with local bok choy, sugar snap peas and patty pan squash–not something one would expect to find in a classic French setting, but it was exquisite- light, flavorful, and beautifully presented, art on a plate. Surprises like this set La Nouvelle apart from the old, classic French, which tends to be heavier, and more reliant on cream-based sauces. We also tried the Roasted Colorado Lamb Chops with Tartufata, Ratatouille, Garlic Confît, and Thyme-Scented Lamb Jus–absolute perfection. The sommelier recommended an excellent, and not too expensive bottle of red, which paired well with the meal: Domaine Vico “1769” a 2011 Sangiovese blend from Corsica (the year is a nod to the birth of Napoleon, who was born on the island).

A modern take on a classic, La Nouvelle serves exceptional roasted duck from Jurgielewicz Farms on Long Island. Served with braised red cabbage, black barley and a tangy Valencia orange sauce, it is definitely worth trying, but not for losing weight. Other classic offerings included a 12-ounce veal chop, and classic Steak Frites, a USDA Prime New York Strip and French fries. Among lighter options are Lobster Salad-Salade Homard, consisting of Citrus Poached Maine Lobster Medallions, Mâché, Celery Root, and Fennel & Apple Remoulade, European Seabass-Loup de Mer with Braised Fennel, Dutch Marble Potatoes, Baby Zucchini, Ruby Grapefruit and Sauce Vierge, “Joyce Farms” Organic Chicken Breast Francaise, Blanc de Poulet a’ La Francaise, Local Vegetable Medley, Grilled Lemon, Fried Caper & Beurre Blanc Sauce, and the evening special, Dover Sole.

Not overlooking any detail, La Nouvelle’s pastry chef, Stephanie Steliga, also hails from Café L’Europe. We decided to taste one of the nightly special soufflé’s, a classic Grand Marnier, which was outstanding!

If you are looking for a beautiful spot for a romantic evening, or simply wish to turn an ordinary evening into an extraordinary evening, look no further than La Nouvelle Maison, one of the best additions to the Boca Raton dining scene in some time.

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See you in beautiful East Boca, and please tell Guido that Fred Bollaci sent you!

La Nouvelle Maison
455 E Palmetto Park Rd
Boca Raton, FL 33432
(561) 338.3003

About Fred Bollaci

I'm CEO and President of Fred Bollaci Enterprises. I lost more than 100 pounds while living "La Dolce Vita" and I'm now known as "The Healthy Gourmet." Sample the good life with me through fitness, fine food, and good wine. Meet chefs who cater to a healthy gourmet lifestyle through my Golden Palate blog.
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