Taste the World / Lait Cru Brasserie
Photos by kc kratt
346 Connecticut Street, Buffalo; 462-4100 or laitcrubrasserie.com
Owner: Jill Gedra Forster
Cuisine: French bistro-inspired
In business since: 2016
Jill Gedra Forster, owner and mastermind of Lait Cru (“raw milk”) Brasserie and Nickel City Cheese, which operate side by side on Buffalo’s west side, says that her goal is to retire to France. Her restaurant is her “little taste of France” until then. Gedra Forster, a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute, and her head chef, Will Peterson, an alum of Niagara Falls Culinary Institute, are steadily committed to offering “elegant yet inviting dishes and impeccable hospitality for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.”
Why did you choose to create/work in a restaurant with this focus?
Jill Gedra Forster: French bistro food is my favorite cuisine—the flavors are simple and also complex. One of my mentors was from Brittany, and I learned a lot from him.
Will Peterson: French food is the base for most cooking styles. It’s versatile; you can take something very French and change it a little bit. True, French food can be very hard. We aim to make it more approachable.
What is your philosophy in the restaurant?
JGF: Our mantra is good, high-quality food, cooked properly, in a beautiful setting, with amazing service. The food is approachable; it’s not molecular gastronomy. It’s eggs cooked properly, hash cooked properly, high-quality bacon.
WP: The base philosophy is kind of “don’t mess up the food too much”—make it right and good the first time. The cooks and I try to make everything as close to perfect as it can be, like no browned edges on eggs—just a good delicious egg. Certain dishes take more time, like lentils. It’s a labor of love to make them not be mushy.
Why do you think this approach is appealing?
JGF: It is mainly food that you can cook at home, but, when you order it out, it’s fantastic to get it so well prepared. It’s casual but still elegant. For example, our cast-iron pan roasted chicken comes with lentils du Puy [Note: a type of French lentils prized for their firmness and flavor], and pan jus. It’s so comforting: buttery, creamy, moist, with crispy skin. And the lentils are amazing.
WP: The chicken is very simple—there are only three things on the plate: chicken, lentils, and sauce. There are some pickled vegetables in the lentils. It all has to be perfect; no one wants a plate of mush or dry chicken. If the skin isn’t crispy, it defeats the purpose. The sauce is rich; we mix the pan juices with white wine and finish it with butter. The pickled vegetables cut a bit of the fat, and add a little acidity and crispness. Guests tell us they love it; it will remain a staple of our menu.
Jana Eisenberg writes frequently for Spree.