The finest version of macaroni and cheese is not available in the USA. You must travel to Paris for a version that defies the imagination.
Restaurant Benoit is the place and the food speaks volumes to the passions of the French. In this case the execution is pure Alain Ducasse.
From the moment that the tiny copper pot is whisked effortlessly to your table to the first aroma of aromatic molten cheese woven with an impossibly well cooked pasta noodle, then dotted with the classic bechamel- you know each bite is going to be very special indeed.
Each meal served at Benoit in Paris is a revelation of taste. The ingredients are the best money can buy. But this restaurant is not just about expense or luxury. It is about the food and the passionate hands that create authentic cuisine.
The slogan on the menu reads succinctly: "Chez toi Benoit, on boit, festoie en rois," which might be translated to "Come over to Benoit’s place, where we’ll drink and feast like kings."
But what is authentic? Is it a truffle sourced from the earth by a tenacious dog? Or a slab of butter still glistening with sweet cream, sprinkled with sea salt?
The Fête de la Gastronomie celebrates the diversity of French Cuisine through the exemplification of good ingredients, simply prepared with love.
At Restaurant Benoit they succeed in unlocking the premise that good food is not overly priced. While it's not inexpensive to dine at this place- you can dine very well with only a few Euros in your pockets.
Stick to a price fixe menu, they are on your table. You can dine your way through the history of French Bistro cooking without spending your very last coins. Have a glass of house wine. You may find that it is eminently drinkable and complements the passionately prepared dinner in front of you.
If you choose to attend the Fête de la Gastronomie next year, make sure that you dine at Restaurant Benoit when you in Paris and experience French Cuisine from inside a very historic room.
Every Parisian mayor has dined there since 1912! A venerable history.
And the Macaroni and Cheese? It may well be the world's best! That and a glass of wine and perhaps a green salad? Ah, lovely indeed.
Atout France kindly sent me to France to rediscover cuisine. What I came home with far exceeded my expectations on flavor and history.
If you find yourself in Paris make a reservation at Benoit.
Benoit means Gastronomie in French.
Warren Bobrow is the Food and Drink Editor of the 501c3 non profit Wild Table on Wild River Review located in Princeton, New Jersey.
He is one of 12 journalists world-wide, and the only one from the USA to participate in the Fête de la Gastronomie- the weekend of September 22nd. 2012 in Burgundy.
He attended Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans in 2011/2012.
Warren presented freestyle mixology at the International Food Bloggers Conference in Portland, Oregon. (2012)
Warren judged the Iron Mixology competition at the Charleston Wine and Food Festival (2012)
Warren has published over three hundred articles on everything from cocktail mixology to restaurant reviews to travel articles.
You may also find him on the web at: http://www.cocktailwhisperer.com
Warren is a published food writer and former cook.
He's written food and cocktail articles and news for Edible Jersey, Chutzpah Magazine, Voda Magazine, Tasting Table, Serious Eats and Total Food Service Magazine.
Warren attended the Kentucky Derby and the Oaks Day Races this year while on assignment for Voda Magazine.
He writes for the "Fabulous Beekman 1802 Boys" as their cocktail writer. (The Soused Gnome)
He writes for Williams-Sonoma on their Blender Blog.
Warren began his climb to becoming a cook as a pot scrubber at the York Harbor Inn in York Harbor, Maine in 1985.
He cooked at Alberta's in Portland, Maine during mid-80's.
Warren is the former owner and co- founder of Olde Charleston Pasta in Charleston, SC while cooking at the Primerose House and Tavern. (Also in Charleston)
He spent Hurricane Hugo (1989) in his former home in Charleston and lost his business.
Warren was # 30 in Saveur Magazine's 100 for his writing about the humble Tuna Melt.
Headshot photograph taken at the Ministry of Rum in San Francisco- August 2010