Here's How You Should Order Food In A French Restaurant, According To Chef Ludo Lefebvre - Exclusive

Between snails, potent cheese, and steak served raw, French cuisine sure is more ... adventurous than some American fare. It's also full of lush textures, rich flavors, baguettes that make dinner rolls seem pretty plain, not to mention champagne and crème brûlée — each intoxicating in their own right. The question is, with so many interesting options, how do you know what to order at the Parisian cafe that just opened on a rue near you?

This is a decision you don't need to overthink, according to award-winning chef Ludo Lefebvre, a native of Burgundy who is opening a new French restaurant of his own, Chez Maggy, in Denver in early 2022 (via Restaurant Hospitality). During an exclusive interview with Mashed, Lefebvre recommended letting the chef do most of the work for you. "If you're at a fancy French restaurant, the froufrou French restaurant, most of the time it's a set menu. So, your chef cooks for you," he said. "And [that's a] good thing!" In other words, don't flip past the prix fixe menu and go straight for the appetizers — instead, use the chef's recommendations as your guide. They are, after all, the expert. 

Stick with the French classics

If you're not at a restaurant that offers a chef's menu, stick with French classics, Lefebvre advised. Even if you see some American or Italian style options on the menu, let's remember the purpose of this dining adventure was to eat French food, so don't order a burger or a big bowl of spaghetti. Instead, stick with those menu options that are the epitome of French cuisine, Lefebvre said. "It depends on menu, but I would say a good onion soup, a steak tartare" are obvious choices, he added. And even if you're squeamish about snails, just do it, order the escargot. "Try that! Try the classic dishes together," Lefebvre said.

What about side dishes, like vegetables or fruits? Here, it helps to know a little bit about gardening, according to Lefebvre. "If you put a butternut squash with apple, they're all [grown in] the fall and they work very well together," he said. "Nature will tell you what to do." That being said, any good French restaurant will have thoughtfully curated vegetables that complement the proteins on the menu.

Explore Chef Ludo Lefebvre's Vin De Table wine collection. For updates on his new Denver restaurant, Chez Maggy, follow him on Instagram. And be sure to tune into "A Rat in the Kitchen" on TBS this January where Lefebvre will be a judge.