San Antonio, TX

New Restaurant in San Antonio Brings Paris to Life

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Chef Laurent Rea is well-known for his amazing culinary skills. Rea was born in Switzerland but raised in France. He is an expert in fusion cooking, combining French techniques with local ingredients. His latest project is Brasserie Mon Chou Chou at the Pearl in San Antonio. Mon Chou Chou translates as “darling” or “sweetie” in French, and the restaurant is busy serving French comfort food to its patrons.

Chef Rea has previous experience working as an Executive Chef in Andrew Weismann’s Signature. His career began at the culinary school in Strasbourg, France. He had a successful beginning at various top-class restaurants such as the Ca’Savio in Venice, Italy, and the Lygon Arms Hotel in Broadway, England. Then, he joined the restaurant Chef De France in Orlando, Florida. He then moved to San Antonio, working at several well-known restaurants before joining the Southerleigh Hospitality Group. He is currently the Executive Chef at Brasserie Mon Chou Chou.

The Chefs

Although Mon Chou Chou serves French cuisine, it has strong roots in San Antonio. Rea has teamed up with Southerleigh Hospitality Group partners Philippe Place and Jerome Serot to bring his concept to reality. All of them have French roots, but the trio met in 2001 while living in San Antonio. Besides them, local chef Jeff Balfour has also partnered in this venture.

Serot was heard saying, “French cuisine is something that is near and dear to our hearts, and it’s something that has allowed us to come together as friends and colleagues.” Prior to its opening, Serot commented, “We have an opportunity to share our food culture with San Antonio in a way that is warm and inviting and we are very much looking forward to bringing Mon Chou Chou to Pearl.”

The Inspiration

The menu at Mon Chou Chou is fondly made with sweet memories of their homeland. The food served here aims to cater to family and friends to spend a lovely evening. Many of the dishes found here were inspired by their grandmother's cooking. Also, some of the foods recreate the tastes of famous cities and regions in France.

The restaurant sports a laid-back and comfortable atmosphere. It is an ideal blend of France’s cuisine and the South’s hospitality. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day, even on weekends. Visitors can find a delectable combination of French classics along with simple, aromatic dishes.

It is located by the side of hotel Emma, in the former NAO space. The 4,600 square feet restaurant was set up by Clayton & Little, the Austin-based architecture team, along with the Pearl development team. The interiors were designed by Joel Mozersky, a competent designer from Central Texas. The design team stated in a release that the “Team has created a foundational space with timeless appeal inspired by the great brasseries of France.”

The restaurant offers ample indoor and patio seating arrangements. The menu is available for dine-in, carryout, and delivery. The restaurant has been careful to follow all COVID norms, including mask-wearing, sanitizing, temperature screening, and frequent hand washing.

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The Response

The restaurant has been receiving wide accolades from local media. It has been variously described as a “magic portal to Paris” and a “San Antonio Gem.” It is said to transcend visitors to the backstreets of Blvd. St. Germain.

A brasserie, unlike an upscale restaurant, has an informal setup. It serves full diner options yet at the same time offering a casual ambiance created by wine, cheese plates, oysters, and more.

The Chief Marketing Officer at Pearl, Elizabeth Fauerso, said, “We are thrilled to welcome this new brasserie concept at Pearl.” She also expressed hope, “The talented team behind Mon Chou Chou will add new depth to our culinary offerings.”

The restaurant has attracted packed crowds since its debut. Rea said, “I thought bringing a piece of Paris would bring a lot of people who wanted to come. We knew we were going to be busy, but not that busy.”

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