Escape For Dinner At The Parisian Restaurant & Wine Bar
Forget you're in Florida for an hour or two with a European escape to Jupiter's The Parisian Restaurant & Wine Bar.
Tarzi Benazzouz's intention was to return to Paris. But, life didn't go as planned, and for the better. When Benazzouz met Susan Nefzger, with whom he's been married for five years, he instead put down roots in Palm Beach County. So, to remedy homesickness, Benazzouz decided to create his own piece of Paris right along U.S. Highway 1 in Jupiter.
Bringing France to Florida
At The Parisian Restaurant & Wine Bar, Benazzouz says, “You can go to Paris without having to pay for a flight.” On a Tuesday afternoon before the restaurant opens for the day, he's jotting down the daily specials with a dry-erase marker. He doesn't get far without taking an intermission to point out details in the dining room that back up his claim. From the molding reminiscent of the apartment he grew up in, to the black-and-white floor tiling seen in French castles, diners have the opportunity to escape to Europe for a couple of hours.
From Flights to Food
Benazzouz disappears for a moment, and when he returns he hands over a few framed photographs. One freezes two men in black and white—the man in chef's garb looks like a version of Benazzouz. “My mom didn't want me to [become a chef],” he says, explaining why he didn't follow his father's career path, at first. Instead, he worked as a flight dispatcher, which brought him to New York City's JFK International Airport. But, time returned Benazzouz to the trade, at least on the business side of things. He worked as the general manager at another French restaurant before deciding to open his own venture.
A Modern Take
With a soft launch of The Parisian Restaurant in December, Benazzouz remembers serving seven people on the first day, 17 on the second, and 48 the next—more than doubling each day simply by word-of-mouth. While he says diners can expect French classics, they can also order modern takes. He explains that just like how Americans don't eat burgers every day, the French don't consume onion soup with a baguette daily. His menu offers traditional dishes like duck confit, plus dishes like kale salad, steak tartare and grilled salmon. It's a place Benazzouz says could actually be found on a street corner in Paris.
The dessert menu is where classics are exercised—think chocolate profiteroles, crepes, dacquoise cake and macarons. An espresso machine and 40 wine options complement the sweets. Guests can stop by for a drink and a cheese-tasting plate or a three-course meal. Local diner's privilege gives regulars 5 percent off during the summer months.
(Photos by David R. Randell Photographics)