Fish à la Meunière

Fancy Restaurants –

I’m not sure, but I think most people can agree with what I’m about to say…We all have that one fancy restaurant we love to go for special occasions. It’s certainly not an everyday occurrence, because the dress code and price are above average. However, the atmosphere, service, and cuisine is top notch! Making it all the worthwhile for a special meal together with family and friends.

Fish à la Meunière IngredientsTilapia

For Damon and I, that fancy restaurant is Chez Yasu—a French restaurant in Topeka, Kansas. Over the past seven years, as we lived in Eastern Kansas, we’ve dined at this restaurant together, or with family, for numerous occasions. The most recent occasion was last July to celebrate Damon’s swearing-in ceremony for passing the BAR exam. Obviously, a momentous occasion such as this proved worthy of a gratifying meal at our favorite fancy restaurant!

Normally, we’re nicely and appropriately dressed for dining at this restaurant, but this time we were decked out because of the previously mentioned swearing-in ceremony. Damon in a full suit, which he’s become accustomed to wearing, and I in a polka-dotted black dress.

Melting Butter & OilSeasoned Flour Dredge

After the ceremony, we made sure to arrive on time for our reservation. I don’t know why, but every time we park and get out of the vehicle, I always feel like I’m about to embark on a great, new adventure. Which is funny, because in my opinion Chez Yasu is rather unassuming based on the exterior. If anything, this French restaurant looks more like an Old Western building, as the exterior is all wood and has an iconic false-front.

However, upon entering Chez Yasu, you know you’re in the right place. Because the yellow walls, lacy window hangings, quaint table settings, and quiet French music set the scene. Not to mention the smell of fresh baguettes wafting from the kitchen helps to wet your palette.

French Delicacies –

One of the many reasons fancy restaurants can be so expensive is because ALL the food is so good. Which means you’re going to eat ALL the courses. Which Damon and I gladly did that day!

Sauteeing Fish à la Meunière Cooked Tilapia

To start off, the nice waiter brought out a basket of warm, freshly baked and sliced baguettes. I’m usually not much of a bread person, but this bread is worth the consumption. It’s golden and crisp on the outside, and soft and fluffy on the inside. Lightly spread with butter and I could eat a whole baguette by myself.

Being as we’ve been to Chez Yasu before, we both have our go-to items. For an appetizer, the Crevettes Meunière is my favorite—sautéed shrimp and mushrooms in a lemon butter sauce. (Boy, do the French know their sauces or what!) Then I usually get the House Salad, whereas Damon gets the Goat Cheese Salad which has strawberries, goat cheese, and a vinaigrette. Then…for the third pre-entrée (hehe) I get the Butternut Squash Soup. And holy crap, this soup is always AMAZING! Although I’m sure I shouldn’t, I could eat a whole gallon of this creamy, hearty deliciousness. And in case you’re wondering, dipping the sliced baguettes into any and all of these appetizers is mandatory, or you’re just not doing it right / living life to the fullest.

Meunière Sauce Components Meunière Sauce

Next, while I’m too happy with life and food to even feel close to full, comes the entrees. I always get the Saumon Meunière—sautéed salmon in that unforgettably delicious lemon butter sauce. I should add that I almost never get fish when I go out…usually I just don’t think it’s worth it. But guys…this one is so worth it! It just melts in your mouth until you’ve eaten both filets.

Damon usually opts for something meatier, and in this case he got the Boeuf Bourguignon—braised boneless beef short ribs with onion & mushrooms cooked in a red wine sauce. As always, he was pleased with his hearty choice!

Tilapia in Meunière Sauce

And lastly, because a basket (or two) of bread, three appetizers, and an entrée are never enough…there’s always dessert to consider! By this point I actually was starting to get full, so it’s anybody’s guess what dessert item I ordered…and Damon ordered. Because, like I said, it’s a fancy restaurant. Which means the first rule is: you don’t skimp! I believe I got a white limencello cake, and Damon got a chocolate ganache cake. No matter, any and all of their desserts are delectable…if you’ve saved enough room.

But I Want More… –

One of the saddest things for me since we’ve moved six hours away to Western Kansas, is leaving behind all of my favorite restaurants. And as if you couldn’t tell…Damon and I love Chez Yasu! So, it’s really sad that we won’t be able to eat there more often for special occasions in the future.

Tilapia Meunière 1

However, what is nice, is that the internet has a plethora of recipes to try in order to find a copycat / replacement meal. And I am happy to say that I have found a suitable, comparable copycat recipe for my all-time favorite technique and sauce recipe: Fish à la Meunière (Fish in Lemon Butter Sauce).

Now my food woes are a little bit less, as I am on a crusade to replicate (and sadly replace) my favorite dishes from my favorite restaurants. (Oh six hour drive, how you pang me! Okay, maybe I’m being a bit melodramatic, but…I love food. so. much.)

Eating Tilapia Meunière

So, if you’re like me and unfortunately unable to make the trip to Topeka to eat at Chez Yasu, here’s your best bet at a good copycat!

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Fish à la Meunière (Fish in Lemon Butter Sauce)Tilapia Meunière 3
Prep Time: 5 minutes — Cook Time: 10–15 minutes — Serving Size: 4

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil
6 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
4 tilapia fillets*
¼ c all-purpose flour
2 garlic cloves, minced
1–2 lemons, juice and zest
2 tbsp dry vermouth
¼ c parsley, finely chopped
¼ tsp paprika
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

1. In a large sauté pan, over medium-high heat, place 1 tablespoon of oil and 2 tablespoons of butter.

2. Meanwhile, season both sides of the fillets with salt and pepper. Then, in a baking dish, add the flour and season with salt and pepper. Next, dredge the fillets in the seasoned flour, and shake off any excess flour. Place the dredged fillets into the sauté pan.

3. Cook until golden on one side, about 2 minutes. Then flip, and cook until golden on the other side and fully cooked—about 2 more minutes. Then remove the fillets to a platter, and set aside.

4. Using the same sauté pan, turn the heat down to medium. Add the garlic, paprika, and season with salt and pepper. Then add the lemon juice, zest, dry vermouth and parsley. Mix and continue to sauté for 2 minutes. Lastly, swirl in the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter.

Note: Now is a good time to taste test the sauce! You might want to add in extra lemon juice for added tang. Or you might need to add a little more salt and pepper.

5. Return the cooked fillets to the sauce pan. Coat both sides in the sauce, and allow the fillets to warm up with the sauce for a few minutes.

6. Garnish with minced parsley or sprinkle with lemon juice (optional), and enjoy!

Notes:

– I chose tilapia, because it was available at our local grocery store. However, this sauce goes well with a variety of seafood and other options. For example, Chez Yasu uses it on salmon, sea scallops, shrimp, and mushrooms.

Credits:

– The Restaurant: Chez Yasu
– The Copycat Recipe: Chef Michael Symon

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