The cassoulet at Franco: It looks (not to mention tastes) much better than this photo suggests.
Ideally, I would have tabbed the sweetbreads as my favorite dish at Franco. Over several years, including a change in executive chefs from Justin Keimon to Matt Abeshouse, in many different preparations, the sweetbreads have been consistently excellent. Alas, sweetbreads aren't on Franco's menu right now.
The cassoulet, however, is a worthy second choice.
As with many of Franco's best dishes, the restaurant doesn't try to reinvent the wheel. Its cassoulet is a simple, hearty classic: a stew of white beans, duck confit, pork belly and a housemade pork sausage. No subtle flavors here -- especially not with the sausage, which bursts at first bite with pork, garlic and spice.
Yes, this is best enjoyed on a cold winter night, but even our recent warm spell can't diminish its appeal. If the size of the meal is daunting, don't worry. As Franco's bartender suggested to me last night, with eggs and toast, the leftovers make for a great breakfast.
(Apologies for the photo quality.)Franco
1535 South 8th Street
$21I'm counting down -- in no particular order -- 100 of my favorite dishes in St. Louis. Some are well-known, others obscure. Some are expensive, others dirt cheap. All of them, I guarantee, are delicious. Please do not hesitate to share your own favorites via the comments thread.
Previously:#39: The "Papasan Roll" at Miso on Meramec#40: Lasagna at Mama Josephine's#41: The "Bucktown" Pizza at Pi Pizzeria#42: Pla song kruang at Basil Spice Thai Cuisine#43: Chori pollo at Mi Ranchito#44: Pizza at La Pizza#45: Fried chicken at Young's Restaurant & Ice Creamery#46: The Philly Cheesesteak at 9th Street Deli#47: Smoked chicken wings at Flavors BBQ Sports Bar & Grill#48: Coffee and a pastry at 222 Artisan Bakery#49: The torta ahogada at Taqueria Durango#50: The "Morganford Mediterranean" Sandwich at Local Harvest Café & Catering