HONEST AND APPROACHABLE

Au Courant Regional Kitchen

au courant“Instead of planning a menu and then trying to find and source products for it, we are building our menu around what products are available,” says Benjamin Maides, co-owner and chef at Au Courant. In fact, he wants the restaurant to be known for its fluid menu.

The four-part menu begins with a section of amuse-bouches, which are essentially very small bites that Benjamin says are perfect for enjoying with a drink at the bar. Next up are the aperitifs or appetizers of which they have four. They also offer three pasta selections: vegetarian, ravioli and hand-rolled gnocchi.

“Then we have our proteins. These range from local trout, Piedmontese beef, lamb shanks from Dakota Harvest Farms and pork from Jon’s Naturals in Iowa,” he says.

Benjamin says he loves to take two or three good products and put them together, describing the menu as straightforward and simple. “So we might take local beets from a farm in Iowa and roast them. Or we have a free-range pheasant that we slow-cook in duck fat with leeks and house-cured, house-smoked bacon,” he sPhoto by Ariel Friedays. Some of their producers include Iowana Farm and Plum Creek Farms. “So we are a regional kitchen,” he says.

Benjamin has worked in the food industry for 15 years; first at España Tapas Bar then later as the opening chef at Avoli Osteria and most recently at the Market House as the chef de cuisine until it burned down. With Au Courant, Benjamin wants to provide the best product at the best price. “I wanted a small restaurant that was approachable, affordable and inviting,” he says.

Located at 6064 Maple Street on the main strip in Benson, Au Courant is open Tuesday through Saturday from 5pm until close and soon will be serving a Sunday brunch. You can find it on Facebook and online at AuCourantRestaurant.com.

—By Cheril Lee

Photo by Ariel Fried
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