Tareau: A Fountain of Fondue

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Taureau is the third of Chef Didier Pawlicki’s restaurants that I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing, and it is definitely the most unique of the trio. Priding itself on a fondue-only menu (something that no other restaurant in Manhattan boasts), Taureau offers guests three courses of cheese, meat ( Fondue Bourguignonne), and chocolate fondue!

Each option is its own rich tribute to France’s deliciously gooey culinary tradition, but I recommend ordering all three with a friend or date for the full experience. Chef Didier allows people to order fondue for two, pricing individual fondues by pot while also offering a three-course prix fixe that runs between $42 and $52 per person.

Chef Didier spent many years honing his cheese fondue concoctions, painstakingly testing and tasting different combinations. Of the cheese fondues, I got to try the Devil’s Whiff, the Old Swiss, and the Perigord.
Comprised of pepper jack cheese and crisp red wine, the Devil’s Whiff managed to pull my tastebuds in as much as it kicked me awake at every turn. It made for a spicy and invigorating first course. The fiery notes of the cheese mixture invigorated my palette while preventing me from succumbing to the heaviness I normally get when I gorge on cheese. Certainly the best option for those who are looking for some heat on a cold winter’s day!
Devil'sWhiff

The Devil’s Whiff

The Old Swiss with 180-Day Aged Swiss was everything you might ever want from a classic cheese fondue. It was hearty and pungent in the most refined way possible with little hints of tart beneath a symphony of savory. This blend is certain to be a crowdpleaser amongst diners with different tastes–this is cheese fondue in its purest, most celebrated form with little in the way of embellishment, but much in the way of traditionally, cheesy goodness. Definitely my favorite of the cheese fondues! Sometimes I like having my expectations perfectly satisfied without anything extra added!
OldSwiss

The Old Swiss

 

Lastly, I tasted the Perigord with Parmesian, White American Cheese, Truffle Oil, and Didier’s signature slices of real black truffle. I really enjoyed this cheese as well as the bits of truffle, but I found my senses bedazzled beyond understanding when I tried it. A small taste was all I needed to appreciate its rich complexity. Perhaps I was worn out from the first two cheese courses, but I found that a tiny bit of this cheese and its powerful blast of earthy flavor went a long way. If the Devil’s Whiff was full of little punches and kicks, the Perigord could best be described as an hour-long, full body massage for your tastebuds.
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The Perigord

Next, we had the meat fondue, where we dropped raw slices of filet mignon, pork, and chicken onto sizzling oil. All three meats were very tasty when cooked properly, but I definitely favored the tender fillet mignon because I could cook it in as fast as 15-seconds (pair it with the truffle sauce Didier offers on the side for something luxurious). There is something magical about laying a cold bit of steak down and pulling up a morsel of medium rare goodness in seconds!
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The chicken and pork were also very good, but as each bite could take close to a minute to cook all the way through, I found myself stressing over every scrumptious bite of them.
If you’re as clumsy as I am, you’ll have to make sure to grip onto the meat very tightly, otherwise you’ll run the risk of it sticking to the cauldron and being overcooked. I had to be more careful with the meats than the cheeses, but I greatly enjoyed them nonetheless.
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Lastly was the decadent chocolate fondue for dessert. I got to try the milk chocolate and the dark chocolate with a colorful  bouquet of fruits, cookies, and marshmallows.
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Rather shamefully, I found myself guzzling the milk chocolate like a schoolboy in a Roald Dahl novel. It swaddled the sweet treats perfectly in a creamy blanket with a silky texture that enveloped each grape or strawberry in a cocoon of cacao that was just saccharine enough to leave me wanting more. In contrast, I found the dark chocolate was just too rich and bitter. I left dessert wondering if I have the palette of a six-year-old–albeit a very refined and well-mannered six-year-old.
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Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that Taureau is unlike Chef Didier’s other establishments, and is not BYOB. However, it has a fine selection of French wines to choose from.
Mark my words readers, I had an absolutely delightful time at Taureau, and I can’t wait to bring my next date here (assuming I get one)! This is sure to be a hot spot for Valentine’s Day and the next batch of cold weather coming in!
Taureau
Address: 558 Broome St, New York, NY 10013
Phone: (212) 228-2222
Hours: 5 PM-10 PM on Sundays-Thursdays, 5 PM-11 PM on Fridays and Saturdays.
**Accepts Cash, American Express, and Bitcoin Only
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