French restaurants carry a reputation for serving dishes that are generally meat (or animal product based) and masked in heavy sauces. The natural flavor of the ingredients are rarely left to shine on their own because in French cuisine, butter is king! For this reason, French is typically not my go-to cuisine when eating out. However, I was excited to check out the new Noe Valley restaurant.
Chez Marius entered the vacant space of a formally tired and uninspired French restaurant. However, the owners of Chez Marius came to this quaint spot backed with years of restaurant experience. In fact, they are the same owners of the highly acclaimed Le P'tit Laurent in Glen Park, which is a quiet and very residential neighborhood just south of Noe Valley.
I was surprised to see so many French foods on the brunch menu. They did not sell out by serving typical brunch-fare found on nearly every other brunch menu, such as over-the-top french toast (which is ironically not of French origin) and pancakes. Even for brunch, one can order Escargots de Bourgogne, or a plate of six escargots (snails) from Burgundy, cooked in butter, garlic, and parsley.
This warm bistro has an elegant patio- perfect for sunny days in Noe Valley. My dining partner and I shared two dishes, both of which came with generous portions of seafood. The Salade Nicoise, for example, did not come with canned tuna (as is typical for these types of salads), but instead with massive medium-rare tuna steaks. The second dish, the grilled salmon fillet, was richer (thanks to the liberal use of butter) and served warm. Both dishes surpassed my expectations and even rekindled my excitement for French food again. Chez Marius is a welcome new addition to the neighborhood.