Saint-Emilion, Vraiment Magnifique 6

The West Fort Worth Institution Has Served World-Class Cuisine for Nearly Three Decades

It sits at the top of West Seventh St. like a crown, or a stylish hat: the familiar brick A-frame of Saint-Emilion, an iconic piece of neighborhood architecture that adds a touch of Old World class to its increasingly busy thoroughfare. This quaint exterior contains a restaurant that continues to redefine excellence in service, atmosphere and food. For nearly 30 years, Saint-Emilion has given its patrons a taste of the best in French cuisine, from duck, to pork, beef and fresh seafood, and has distinguished itself as one of the Metroplex’s destination eateries.

Saint-Emilion has earned its reputation, along with plenty of accolades, through adherence to its core standard of exceptional food delivered with grace and attentiveness. Zagat’s overall highest-rated Metroplex restaurant, Saint-Emilion continues to find new ways to better serve its clientele. The restaurant recently began a partnership with a new seafood provider, which allows them to offer the freshest seafood possible, along with specialty catches. As with all the world’s finest restaurants, details matter at Saint-Emilion, a fact emphasized by Maitre d’Hôtel Joel Graham.

“Many restaurants focus on smoke and mirrors, things like an extensive menu, or a crazy cocktail list,” says Graham. “What makes us stand out is the consistent quality of our food and our attention to detailed service. Here you get seated with courtesy, the maitre’d checks in with you, the chef, the owner, four or five different people work to ensure that you’re taken care of.”

Saint-Emilion prides itself on the loyalty of its clientele. The staff remembers guests’ seating preferences and favored drinks, and works to craft an experience that accommodates patrons’ plans and needs.

“We want our customers to feel as if it’s a special night when they dine with us,” says Graham. “Regardless of the occasion, whether it’s a typical Tuesday or a celebration.”

The sign on Saint-Emilion’s front door sums up the establishment’s spirit: A Country Fresh Restaurant. To Joel Graham, that pretty much says it all.

“On the front door, it says ‘country fresh restaurant,’” says Graham. “The feelings you get from that phrase inform everything we do. When you come here, it’s as if you’ve walked into a small country house in Saint-Émilion, France. We provide our guests with a cozy, warm feeling and an intimate environment.”

The arrangement of Saint-Emilion allows patrons to see the kitchen and wine racks, which creates an air of transparency. The restaurant books a minimum of two hours per table to ensure that guests have plenty of time to relax and enjoy themselves.

“We never rush people,” says Graham. “Here it’s about the whole experience of tasting the meal and experiencing the wine list.”

Despite its fidelity to time-honored principles of French cuisine and hospitality, Saint-Emilion also knows how to keep pace with the times. For example, patrons can browse the restaurant’s expansive wine list via iPad, an innovation that Saint-Emilion was among the first to implement in DFW. The browsable wine list makes it easier for customers to choose the right bottle; but what about food choices for those with limited knowledge of French cuisine?

“You have a couple ways you could go,” says Graham. “Some people like to play it safe and try different prepared foods they may already have familiarity with, like French onion soup. You can also be a little more adventurous and try our foie gras or escargot. A lot of French foods are based on sauces, with the dish built around that.”

One dish that most Texans have extensive familiarity with, steak, can present the perfect point of entry as the Steak au poivre.

“A lot of restaurants serve steak, but our au poivre is a traditional French recipe,” says Graham. “We also serve lots of duck, and offer a duck two-ways plate that lets you explore while still remaining a little cautious.”

Whether you decide to tiptoe around the menu or dive head first into the escargot, Saint-Emilion will give you a culinary adventure to remember. If you have trouble finding them, just look for the sign on the front door. If it says “country fresh,” you’re in the right place.