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Brasserie 101

THE HISTORY

Historically, brasseries were breweries or beer houses that became popular in 19th-century Paris. The term brasserie literally translates to “brewery” in French. They were a place where patrons could get a beer along with a satisfying meal. The concept has since evolved to become more than just another place to dine but rather a place to experience—where people gather for good food, good drink, and good company. And unlike a cafe or bistro that is focused on moving diners through quickly, a brasserie is a restaurant experience designed to be savored—every bite, every sip, every word. 

THE SETTING

The ambiance of a brasserie can be described with three words: warm, inviting, and quaint. From the moment you enter through the doors, you’re welcomed by the savory aromas of classic French cuisine. The casual yet refined atmosphere invites you to settle in; there’s no rush. The intimate, softly lit dining space features dark wood accented with brass fixtures and statement decor. For seating, you’ll find both cozy bistro tables and comfortable leather banquettes, situated just far enough apart for a bit of privacy yet close enough that conversations easily spread from table to table, creating a sense of community amongst diners. Don’t be surprised to see multiple tables pushed together, where once-separate parties have joined as one to share stories and often a bottle of wine or two. Or three.

THE EXPERIENCE

The French have a phrase that perfectly reflects the brasserie experience: ‘Joie de vivre!’ It roughly translates to a great zest for life and embracing all of life’s simple pleasures. A brasserie is where those simple pleasures are best celebrated with shared laughter, lasting memories, and exceptional food. It’s an environment that is alive with the clattering of dishes, clinking of glasses, and buzz of friendly conversation. Yet despite that high-energy atmosphere, it’s a place that lends itself to a leisurely pace, where hours of an evening seemingly disappear over drinks and starters, entrees and desserts, and likely a round of after-dinner drinks or coffee to keep the night going that much longer. 

THE FOOD

First and foremost an eating establishment, food is a defining part of the brasserie experience. Expect a menu heavy on hearty French classics of generous portions—perfect for sharing a bite or two with your dining companions. These are simple comfort dishes that anyone can enjoy, prepared without pretense. They allow fresh, high-quality ingredients and highly trained kitchen staff to shine. A typical meal might be oysters on the half shell to start, followed by a refreshing endive & pear salad and then an entrée of steak frites—a staple of a true brasserie. And if you’re too stuffed for dessert, not to worry. There’s no rush. Enjoy an after-dinner coffee; eventually, the pistachio souffle or chocolate torte will become too tempting to resist.  

THE DRINKS

For those who partake, brasseries are famous for adding to the night’s revelry with an extensive selection of libations—the whole concept is rooted in a history of beer brewing, after all. So expect to find a carefully curated selection of both beer and wine, including many local options, that perfectly pair with the hearty cuisine. You’ll also find a full bar that often features an ever-evolving menu of expertly crafted specialty cocktails, ensuring there’s always something new to try. And, of course, the weekend brunch has the requisite mimosas—there are rules. If you prefer the nonalcoholic variety, sip on a refreshing variety of nonalcoholic beers and housemade shrub cocktails that are sure to satisfy.

Wide photograph of the chef's table. There is warm, soft light, and the tables are set with glassware and white napkins. There is a wine wall in the background.

THE CHEF'S TABLE

Many brasseries feature a chef’s table to add to the communal dining experience. These large tables are often used to maximize seating options, allowing those spur-of-the-moment walk-ins. When groups of different sizes are seated together at this single table, strangers quickly become friends, if only for the night, through shared conversations and storytelling. A chef’s table also allows large parties to dine together for special occasions. Because when a group of 20 friends and family gather around a table to share food, drinks, and endless stories, a special occasion turns into something that much more special—a dining experience that won’t soon be forgotten.

If you haven’t had the chance to enjoy authentic brasserie dining, you really are missing out. So go for a lunch meet-up with a longtime friend, a night out to celebrate a special occasion, or a leisurely weekend brunch—it’s sure to be an exceptional experience you’ll want to enjoy again and again.

R O O M S + S U I T E S

Contemporary comfort meets old-world charm.

The beds are made, the dining tables are set, and the drink coasters are out—all we’re missing is you. 

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THE AVERY HOTEL
1010 W Main St
Boise, ID 83702
208 990 1010
info@theaveryboise.com
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THE AVERY HOTEL
1010 W Main St
Boise, ID 83702
208 345 4567
info@theaveryboise.com
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THE AVERY HOTEL
1010 W Main St
Boise, ID 83702
208 345 4567
info@theaveryboise.com
SUBSCRIBE

THE AVERY

INSIDER