French Restaurants Indianapolis
Photo by Tony Valainis
The floorboards creak like an old ship, the menu is in Frenglish, and there is no wine list. But none of this stops diners from crowding the tables at The French Manor, a family-run restaurant housed in a rambling Victorian in rural Hamilton County. Belgian-born chef Florence Fraikin (who has managed restaurants in France and Belgium—most famously Le Vieux Bruxelles in the town of Clemont, two hours outside of Paris) opened the Manor with her husband, Didier, this past January. She cooks, he runs the front of the house and keeps the books, and three of their adult children work as servers.
The food—classic French dishes like lobster bisque stocked with half a lobster tail and scallops; a puff pastry filled with escargot and smoked bacon; and a hearty, complex stew of lamb, pork, root veggies, and red cabbage—is meticulously assembled and full of rich flavors straight from the Julia Child playbook. The $32 cassoulet, not surprisingly, is a marvel of the cuisine’s subtle nuances: a full plate of meat, potatoes, and beans cooked down to a rich broth. One of the chef’s favorite entrees, Cotes d’Agneau a la Mediterraneenne, braises a rack of lamb in a garlicky stew of French beans, sweet peppers, and tomatoes. But the profiteroles glacees, chewy puffs of pastry filled with vanilla ice cream and doused in chocolate sauce, are worth the drive to Sheridan alone. Devour them in a chandelier-lit dining room, with an Edith Piaf chanson trilling in the background. It’s magnifique.
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