French Eats: Brasserie Georges

My first dinner in Lyon was just baby sister and me because my cousin and her hubs were flying from Texas and they came into Lyon a few hours after us. My second dinner in Lyon included all four of us. I'd set up a reservation at Brasserie Georges (via their contact page). Brasserie Georges is the oldest brasserie in Lyon and among the biggest in Europe. Brasserie is French for brewery which is v. appropriate because Brasserie Georges brews their own beer and that's one of their most charming (and well-known) traits.
We hopped on the tram to the Perrache stop and made our way to the lovely restaurant.

Brasserie Georges has this awesome art-deco vibe. It has this old-timey elegance and yet, it's comfortable and kind of casual. It's hard to explain; I guess you'll just have to go there. There's a live band, which adds another layer of Roaring 20s ambiance. They played Pharrell's 'Happy' at one point, which was really cute.

"Good beer and good cheer since 1836." I kind of love that this phrase rhymes in both French and English.
The menu has an a la carte section and two prix-fixe options. We all opted for the prix-fixe. Three of us got the Menu Lyonnais (€23.50 for a starter and main course or a main course and dessert or €26.50 for all three). My cousin, S, got the Menu Presqu'il (€21.00 for a starter, main course, and dessert).
Don't forget to grab a beer!
Even the tap water comes in an adorable frosted glass bottle. The beer comes in a decorated glass too. The one thing that gets my goat about ordering beer in Europe is that they leave so much foam on top. I don't know if that's just the European way but honestly, I hate it because I don't like foam and it means less beer in my belly.
Beer complaints aside, one of my favorite things is the complimentary cornichons we were given in this cute little ceramic tub. I love cornichons, which is just French for "gherkin." Basically, it's just cute baby pickles.
My sister and my cousin-in-law, E, got the salmon starter: saumon frais mariné à l'aneth et poivre rose, concombre à la menthe fraiche. What? It's fresh (raw) salmon that's been marinated in dill and pink peppercorns with a cucumber salad with fresh mint. The salmon was generously drizzled with a deliciously rich olive oil. This was delicious and the cucumber salad was *mwah* (I'm kissing my fingers, chef-style).
My cousin, S, got the filet de macareau en escabeche, tartare de tomate au pistou. Marinated mackerel filet with tomato tartar with pesto. The mackerel was also raw, but it was incredibly tender and the tomato tartar was super flavorful, probably because the tomatoes were deliciously ripe.
I had the terrine de foies de volaille maison, which is a chicken liver paté. I loved this. I sliced a piece, slapped it onto some bread, and just jammed it into my mouth. The chicken liver terrine was smooth and all of that gamey flavor had been cooked out of the organs. The brightly dressed greens balanced out the heaviness of the mashed and somewhat fatty meat.
For the main course, S had the filet de haddock à l'Anglaise, beurre blanc, pomme de terre, et oeuf poché. English-style haddock with white butter, potatoes, and a poached egg. The fish was tender, the potatoes were creamy, and the yolk of the poached egg added lots of richness.
My sister had the andouillete, sauce moutarde et purée maison. It was chitterling sausage with a mustard sauce and mashed potatoes. The potatoes came in a separate container and I guess I forgot to snap a photo. The sausage was really interesting. It was roughly chopped bits stuffed into a casing. We didn't eat the casing, but the innards were on point. The sauce was lightly spicy and creamy.
E and I both had the saucisson pistaché à la maconnaise, pomme de terres ecrasées à la fourchette. It's a pistachio sausage (a Lyonnaise specialty) in a white wine sauce and mashed potatoes. The pistachio sausage was delicious. I would never think to add pistachios to meat but it was really yummy. It added great texture, subtle flavor, and of course, beautiful color.
For dessert, E had the nougat glacé maison à la creme de pistache. The menu describes this as "iced nougat," which is essentially a nougat ice cream with pistachio cream. The little jelly candies were a bit strange, but the ice cream was perfectly sweet and the pistachio cream was a delicious accompaniment.
S had the cremeux à la vanille, compotée de fruits rouges. It's vanilla custard cake with red fruit sauce. The custard was rich and creamy without being greasy or heavy.
Baby sis and I each had the feuillantin au chocolat, which is a crispy chocolate and praline cake. It was essentially a cone of chocolate mousse sitting on top of a crispy crust, coated in a rich chocolate coating. The mousse was light and melted as soon as it hit the heat of your tongue and the crunchy crisp added great texture to an otherwise "mushy" dessert.
I must say that Brasserie Georges must be the most popular spot for birthday celebrations because we heard "happy birthday" being played by the live band no less than 10 times that evening. The lights would be turned down and a server would shoot out of the kitchen holding a dessert that had been stabbed with a sparkler. The first time it was cool, the second time it was still cool, the third time it was funny, but by the fourth, fifth, and sixth time, it was just tedious.

This was a delicious final meal in Lyon and I was a little upset to be leaving this awesomely food-centered city. I guess I just have to go back.


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