Walking into Mignon, a longtime tenant of Lakeside Market at Preston and Spring Creek, it’s not difficult to imagine you’ve been transported in time and place. The 15-year-old restaurant touts itself as a “retro French steakhouse,” and nothing could be closer to the truth.
From the colors to the décor to, most importantly, the menu, Mignon parle français. “We tried to bring the ’60s back from France,” says owner and Plano resident Nick Natour. “We are a steakhouse with a lot of French influence.”
The menu offers several classic French dishes, including foie gras, escargot, steak tartare, steak au poivre, steak frites, cochon and wild boar. The rest of the fare is an eclectic mix of New American, with an impressive array of seafood dishes, as well as risotto, mac and cheese and an assortment of salads, soups and vegetables.
Outside of the kitchen, the French influence is just as overt. The décor was handpicked to evoke 1960s France, with a rich palette and red, high-backed booths lining the dining room. There’s also a giant clock behind the bar perpetually set to 12:05. The reason? “In France, the party doesn’t start until after midnight,” says Natour.
Natour, who’s not French but travels there extensively, is a 32-year veteran of the restaurant business. He was behind renowned Dallas ventures Enclave Restaurant & Bar and Gershwin’s and is the creative lead behind the Mignon menu. He works closely with his kitchen staff on weekly specials inspired by seasonal availability, and he sources ingredients from local farmers markets and assists with the cutting of the meat.
Oh, that meat. Natour says the cuts are all Prime and all hand-cut. He typically oversees this chore, if not doing it himself then supervising his staff. The meat is heavily marbled and cut to minimize the weight of the fat in its total ounce count. Though the restaurant offers a range of cuts (including a New York strip cut “Nick’s Style”), the filet mignon is the most popular steak on the menu. “With a name like ‘Mignon,’ I have to have the best,” Natour says.
Given the luxe décor, high-end menu items and upscale cocktail and wine list, many might consider Mignon a place to go only for date night or a special occasion. Natour disputes this perception. He’s a firm believer in fine dining—but in anything from a suit to shorts. “I want everyone to feel comfortable,” he says. “I can’t say no to business.”
This mantra has certainly contributed to the restaurant’s longevity. It boasts a steady steam of regulars who’ve been coming in since it opened in 2000. And Natour is betting on a rosy future. He just signed a 20-year extension on Mignon’s lease and is enclosing the restaurant’s patio for additional seating and dining space.
How’s that for la joie de vivre?Mignon Website>