Originating in Paris, faubourgs were areas around thoroughfares leading into the city. These French neighborhoods soon became art and culture districts bustling with charming restaurants and shops. With that in mind, New York City hospitality veterans Dominique Paulin and Executive Chef Olivier Muller have opened Faubourg; a modern French brasserie in Montclair.
The 10,000-square foot spot offers seasonal, French fare with unique wine pairings and craft cocktails. The locale was originally a bank, then a movie theater, and then a retail space before it became Faubourg.
French Flair for French Fare
The restaurant is an elegant and modern French Brasserie, but also aims to be casual and approachable, says Paulin.
Brooklyn architect Craig Shillitto is responsible for designing the space; which has 20-foot ceilings, dark-stained oak floors and a black steel custom-made light fixture in the center. “The high ceiling, cool blue tones and steel work gives the space a relaxed and airy atmosphere,” says Paulin.
The eatery features three dining areas, each with their own bar. First, there’s the main dining room, which seats 130 people; then there’s the upstairs lounge, which can fit 27; finally, the outdoor patio holds about 50. Faubourg also has two private dining rooms on the second floor.
Choosing to open up in Montclair was an easy decision for Paulin. He has been living in the area for the past 10 years with his wife and two daughters. Witnessing firsthand the town’s transformation into a thriving destination, it is an ideal place to open a new venue.
French food can get a bad rap. “People often have the perception that French food is heavy,” says Paulin. “But the reality is that French cooking is about seasonal ingredients combined with good technique. Our menu is definitely French, but on the nontraditional side. It’s ingredient driven with modern takes on classic dishes.”
For example, one signature dish is the coq au vin; which includes chicken drum and thighs that marinate in red wine for two days. They sear and braise the chicken, then plate it with bacon lardons, roasted mushrooms and Cipollini onions.
Another popular item is the salmon a l’oseille; a dish made famous by The Troisgros Brothers and Chef Paul Bocuse in France. The Faubourg version pays homage to the classic style with a modern twist; they pan roast the salmon atop a sorrel sauce before serving it with wild rice and local peas.
Faubourg also serves brunch, with dishes ranging from savory to sweet. Options include French toast as well as steak with eggs. In addition, their brunch prix fixe menu includes two courses and a choice of juice, Bloody Mary, or seasonal mimosa.
Of course, the restaurant offers an extensive cocktail menu with classics plus seasonal specialty cocktails. In fact, their two-story wine cellar can hold about 2,000 bottles of wine. It’s currently housing 1,000 bottles with room for 1,000 more, says Paulin. “The cocktail lounge upstairs is such a special space,” says Paulin. “The speakeasy vibe makes it perfect for cocktails or even a small private gathering.” The lounge also directly connects to the outdoor patio.
Meanwhile, their private dining rooms can hold 10 to 40 people. One glass-enclosed room overlooks the dining room and wine cellar; it seats up to 16 guests at a long table. On the other hand, the second room adjoins with the cocktail lounge and seats up to 40 guests. It’s also great for cocktail-style events, says Paulin.
All Photos: © Faubourg / Website