Lyon chef Chris Leahy Dishes on Bouchons and Lyonnaise Cuisine
Photo courtesy Chris Leahy Chris Leahy
With Bastille Day just around the corner, it's as good a time as any to make a trip to Lyon. Can't afford the ticket to France? Good thing there's a Lyon right here in the West Village. We called up chef Chris Leahy to learn more about Lyonnaise cuisine and why Gordon Ramsay isn't actually a nightmare in the kitchen.
What exactly is a bouchon?
In Lyon, the bouchon represents the workingman's restaurant. It represents the food and the region. Generally it's not expensive or features out-of-the ordinary ingredients. You'll find stuff like someone's family would have made throughout the ages, like tripe, sausages, charcuterie work, and they have traditional salads at their peak of seasonality.
Lyon is a "bouchon moderne." What does that mean?
We're using more items that are located in the New York City region and from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York State, and we change the menu seasonally. We'll do modern interpretations of classic dishes. In Lyon, you get tripe and it's the whole tripe, and so we're making it more for the modern palate.
What's the ideal meal to eat at Lyon?
I'd share the charcuterie platter. We make everything other than the bread here, and the platter is unique to us. That would be for the table. Then get the Lyonnaise salad and the snails with morels and sweetbreads. For entrées, probably the skate, which is a real classic dish, or the tripe. And for dessert, the apple tart or the praline chocolate mousse. In Lyon, praline is the number-one nut in the whole city. They have pink pralines. We've made a twist on that and made a mousse out of them.
Yeah, they roast them and toss with a caramel sugar that's dyed pink. When we were in the market you'd see these crazy bright-pink pralines. I don't know why, but it's one of those classic Lyon dishes.