By ELISE RIO
People always ask, “What is French food exactly? Is it just escargot? Where can I eat some?” The newly opened French restaurant Moulin, located in Newport Beach, provides a delicious answer to all of these questions. Nestled in a small square of restaurants, Moulin is a tiny, intimate bistro with not only French food, but also French-inspired architectural designs.
When I went to this restaurant recently, the French chef was very friendly and explained that he always had the dream of opening a bistro and sharing French culture with California residents. Moulin, which opened in September of 2014, is his dream finally coming true. Although the bistro has relatively high prices, many of its ingredients such as Grenadine, a beverage ingredient, and specific French spices that are not found in the U.S. are imported directly from France. These authentic ingredients are well worth the extra dollars.
The design of Moulin adds to its charm. A small sign above the door reads, “You are no longer in American Territory.” The fountain, chairs, tables and poster decorations are all imported from France, making the whole environment special and unique to other Americanized French restaurants. In addition, many of the servers speak French or English with French accents.
Moulin’s setting gives you a very casual feeling for a great quick breakfast or lunch. At night, however, the restaurant transforms into the perfect semi-fancy dinner. On Tuesdays, the chef even offers a special dinner with a full course meal including French conversation practice. The dinner prices fluctuate based on what the chef intends to serve. The food served at each special dinner on Tuesday is usually posted on the Moulin website the week before and can range anywhere from $25 to $35. Although I have not yet had the opportunity to attend this specific dinner, I have heard from many French speakers that it is a great way to begin learning French or refresh your memory if you already speak the language.
The menu at this restaurant ranges from authentic French meals to more Americanized options so that there is conveniently something for everybody. When I first ate at Moulin, I ordered a Croque Monsier. Although many restaurants serve these warm sandwiches, it is usually evident that they do not have the right materials to properly prepare them. At Moulin, however, the Croque Monsier tasted like the true French ones you could find at a Parisian restaurant. The second time I visited Moulin, I ordered a Quiche and a raspberry white chocolate dessert for $12 total, which was relatively expensive for a simple lunch but well worth the authentic French taste. There is also a corner of the restaurant resembling a supermarket in which people can purchase typical French groceries imported from France. From my experience, Moulin’s food is always pristine and perfectly cooked. My meals here have truly felt as natural as a quick lunch in Paris by the Eiffel Tower.
1000 Bristol St N, Newport Beach, CA 92260
Monday-Saturday 7:00 AM-7:00 PM
Sunday 8:00 AM-3:00 PM