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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Chez Yasu (Topeka, Kansas): Good, Overpriced French Cuisine With A Japanese Flare

Chez Yasu (Topeka, Kansas): Good, Overpriced French Cuisine With A Japanese Flare

Chez Yasu
2701 SW 17th St
Topeka, KS 66604

Prices: $$$$$

A French restaurant in Topeka, Kansas with a Japanese chef? Seems a bit odd, but hey, it works!

We arrived exactly on time for our 7:30pm reservation, but had to wait 15 minutes for our table ... STRIKE 1! While we waited, we had a view of the prep area where a server was taking cherry tarts out of a box that looked like something from Sam's Club ... STRIKE 2! The prices on the menu were significantly higher than the menu on their website ... STRIKE 3! Normally an "out", I have to admit that we enjoyed our dinner and may very well return to try Chez Yasu again ... MAYBE.

I love escargots (snails - $7.95 online, $8.95 in reality) and their buttery, garlicly goodness, rarely having the opportunity to order them in culturally challenged eastern Kansas, so I did (as an antipasto). Sans shells, they came six on a plate accompanied by a couple sliced mushrooms and doused with a savory garlic, parsley, and butter sauce. They were good, but nowhere near the best I have had and definitely some of the priciest at $1.50 a pop.

My wife had the potato and leek soup (potage - $3.95/$4.95) which apparently comes either hot or cold because when it arrived, it was ice-cold! We asked the server to please bring her the warm version. The soup was decent, moderately flavorful, but a little too watery for my taste. It could have been thicker with a bit more seasoning, but the bread made up for it. The server brought more freshly baked bread as needed and was actually one of the highlights of the night 

Poulet Saute
The Poulet Sauté, thinly sliced chicken breast served with a light teriyaki sauce ($16.95/$19.95 - also available with an herb or peppercorn sauce), was moist, light, and succulent with just enough teriyaki to flavor the dish without overpowering the poultry. I would have preferred the herb or peppercorn sauce in a French restaurant, but my wife does not appreciate pepper as much as I do and because she was eating it, I happily succumbed to her decision. The potatoes, not plentiful enough to last as long as the chicken, were light, good, and creamy and the green beans crisp with just enough butter and seasoning. In my opinion, $16.95 for a basic chicken dish is probably at the top of the scale, but $20 is excessive. Not a great value.

Boeuf Borguignon
Boeuf Borguignon ($21.95/$24.95), braised boneless beef short ribs, onions, and mushrooms in a red (burgundy, hence the name) wine reduction. Accompanied by the same mashed potatoes and fresh green beans, the plate was pleasing to the eye and very good. The burgundy sauce was perfect, but for such a small and inexpensive cut of meat, a couple mushrooms, potatoes, and beans, the price we paid was easily six times the food cost and again not a great value in my eyes. I believe the advertised $21.95 would be more appropriate and $19.95 would be a much better value, earning an extra bomb, maybe two in my book (or blog in this case).

The house wine (Root: 1), a deep red, full bodies Chilean cabernet with intense fruity tones was the perfect accompaniment to the boeuf borguignon, but at $28 it was the least expensive option on a small wine menu with most bottles coming in at $40 or more.

House Wine - Root 1 (Chile - $28)
Now do not get me wrong, I have no trouble paying top dollar (or Euro) for a top-shelf meal worthy of a Michelin Star or two, but Chez Yasu will not be getting that star any time soon. I have eaten at some of the best restaurants in the world ... Brussels, Paris, Rome, Madrid, Tokyo, Seoul, Budapest, you name it ... and although decent, this small French restaurant in Topeka, Kansas is overpriced in my opinion. By comparison, one of my favorite French restaurants, Le Central in Denver (Colorado) has a much more extensive and affordable wine list, a menu offering a comparable number of options (plus an elaborate offering of mussel dishes, with unlimited French fries by the way, for under $10) all under or close to $20, and superb cuisine prepared by real French chefs. In that comparison, Chez Yasu does not even come close, hence my rating of "value" ....

CombatCritic Gives Chez Yasu 6 Bombs Out of 10 ... Les Bombes Sont Bon!

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Chez Yasu on Urbanspoon

Potato-Leek Soup

Fresh, French Bread Baguette
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Key Words: 66604, beef, burgundy, chez, Chez Yasu, CombatCritic, eat, food, France, French, Kansas, restaurant, Topeka, travel, TravelValue, value, yasu

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