Living with Style, People, Places & Spaces, Travel Notes

A Brasserie That Parisians Would Envy

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Part of the charm of serendipity is that it can present itself when you least expect it. In this case, it was a girls reunion on  the “Eastern Shore” (we all met 25 years ago as attendees at a Sheila Macqueen flower arranging week in Woodstock, England).

Who would have anticipated in Easton, Maryland a brasserie that would have made Paris proud?


Comfort food in comfy settings with an old-world flavor…who doesn’t love just the concept of a brasserie? I’ve enjoyed them all, from Bouchon in Napa and Beverly Hills to Le Bilbouquet in Atlanta and Dallas. But Brasserie Brightwell’s interiors had an authenticity that caught my attention and made the experience a Eureka moment. No Hollywood set design, just the owner’s good eye that is so much a signature of Parisian brasseries to be found in out of the way places, down narrow streets, on small squares.

Brasserie Brightwell

I couldn’t wait to put this in my journal and send it off to you – Bon Appétit!

Great menu, n’est-ce pas?

For a true French experience, one must order escargots; these were plump, fresh and presented on a grilled baguette slice- and the herb butter sauce was not too over-garliced (an achievement in itself). The new “trend,” fortunately, dispenses with presenting escargots  in their shells.

Brasserie Brightwell

Their menu cleverly includes a “Daily Braise.” That night it was just the right size portion of tender, yummy pork belly, served over Wisconsin smoked gouda grits; the stewed mustard greens were another plus for me.

Brasserie Brightwell

Why don’t more restaurants offer small servings of desserts?! When all you really want is just a few bites, how perfect to provide three demitasses of everyone’s favorites – peach crumble, crème brulee and rich chocolate mousse. Cut those calories in half by sharing with a friend!

Brasserie Brightwell

And just in keeping with le style francais – a shopping find in St. Michael’s. “Edible French,” is that a play on words?


Another worthy-of-mention dining experience, this one all about Eastern Shore crab, was at The Inn at Perry Cabin in Saint Michael’s. But what really made it memorable for all of us was a simple, gracious gesture – a wool throw was neatly folded over the back of our chairs at our outside terrace table (maybe they’re channeling the sensibilities of their original owner, Laura Ashley).

Happy Fall!

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Bettie Bearden Pardee

About Bettie Bearden Pardee

Author of Private Newport and Living Newport, garden furniture designer (The Parterre Bench), national lecturer, and entertaining expert. An honoree for the second year on "The Salonniere 100 America's Best Party Hosts", she was also the host and creative producer of "The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House".

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