Ma Cuisine, Beaune

Having an extremely full schedule for the week we were a little sad that we might have to miss Ma Cuisine. A two-hour gap miraculously opened up Thursday lunchtime, I made a call and we nailed two seats, not just any seats, brand new seats after 16 years. All chairs have been replaced and there’s some banquet seating all covered in fake leather looking material. We just hope no vinyls were killed in the upholstering of them and when they heat up you may indeed need an eggflip to remove bare skin from them but they were comfortable.

We were warmly greeted by Pierre and Fabienne and made to feel right at home. The wine list is still very good, perhaps not so many bargains as there once may have been but some great wines at sociable prices. We selected a 2005 Coche-Dury Meursault ‘Les Chevaliers’ that was quite dumb on the nose. I probably shouldn’t have accepted it as it breathed to show some faint taint. It was big, rich and sappy with excellent length but not as it should have been.

You can make anything taste good if you douse it liberally in warm butter, garlic and parsley, even Brussels sprouts I suspect, but the snails here are incredibly good. Heidi and I used most of our basket of baguette to mop up the delicious sauce once plump snails had been eaten. Tuna Tartare is prepared simply, using high quality fish and is delightfully vibrant and fresh.

For main course my veal sweetbreads were a revelation. Just cooked, sweet, tender and served with a delicious, creamy, vanillin sauce. Heidi’s baby chicken dish with Asian spices was also extremely good.

We had planned not to have dessert but spied a crème caramel served next to us, it looked divine and was wobbling like my tummy after the past two weeks eating, it could not be ignored. I duly ordered one and it was classic, simple and heavenly. Heidi had a beautiful piece of tarte tatin, which had thick slices of apple that had a wonderful spiciness. It lay on some fabulous shortcrust pastry and had such an elegant thread of caramel flavour, a simple dish, perfectly executed.

Ma Cuisine is a restaurant whose formula does not change. It is small and busy, the produce is of the highest quality and food flavours are robust and tasty. It is not fancy and you have to wait a while for your wine to arrive but that’s just how it is here. It is one of our favourite restaurants.


The last time I was there they were serving black truffles with scallops and my brother in law ordered and was in heaven so he asked Fabienne if he could see one. Next thing you know she shows up with a large box of golf ball sized truffles! Must have been 200 of them. This box would need an armed guard if anywhere in the states.
I also love this place for its simpleness, but quality.

I love Ma Cuisine too and never miss eating there at least once when I’m in Burgundy. I love their roast pigeon - perfect with some good Morey St-Denis. Once, I noticed there was no pigeon on the blackboard, and told Pierre that I had come back all the way from Manila just to eat that dish. He popped into the kitchen and returned not a minute later saying: “For you, we will make it.” Love it.

They are generous with their truffles with eggs too:



ps. Oh, yes, their tarte Tatin is heavenly indeed.

How do you think the meal would have gone if you had knocked back the Coche ?

My experience with trying to send back a Coche there was not successful, FWIW.

In 2004 I went there for dinner with friends and a winemaker couple who are friends. Though the winemaker suggested a Carillon Puligny, I was intrigued by a Coche-Dury aligote. We had it and the bottle was really awful…tasted swampy and maybe corked, but…at first the winemaker didn’t want to make a fuss (they were social friends of the owners and several of their wines were on the list), but then his wife got a bit nauseated by it. The male owner came over to chat and we told him about this. After lots of resistance, he agreed to replace the bottle with another one of the same. It was just as bad. When he came over to see, we told him. His reaction was “see, they’re all the same; it’s the wine, not the particular bottle…it’s just the way it is”. He charged us for one of the bottles, though both were undrinkable. My friends were pretty offended by his attitude.

The next time I was there…I asked him for a reco (a 1985 Hermitage) rather than have to deal with a potential problem again. I think the place is ok, but not worth the clamour…especially when it’s crowded and incredibly noisy and potentially rowdy.

So, don’t feel any regret on the Coche…likely he would have tried to persuade you that it was you…not the wine…that was problematic, especially since it was a more expensive bottling than the aligote.

Over the past 12 years of dining there I have returned a corked wine and an oxidised wine without any problem.

This was probably neither, which was likely the issue…and the resistance.

This brings up a good question. Should the restaurant be responsible for a wine that doesn’t please you but is otherwise flawless ?

Not sure what brings up the “good question”…the wine I had was clearly flawed…just not corked or oxidized. Not a matter of “taste”…the owner didn’t like the wine either…he just said they were “all like that”. That, to me, was a cop out. He chose the wines…and wouldn’t take responsibility for his choices.

To answer your question, though,…no…and I wouldn’t even try to make a restaurant
responsible for something that doesn’t please me. But, if it knows of an issue, ie, the next time someone ordered the Coche I had…I think it is “responsible” to warn people. I know we weren’t the first to have complained about it…from his flippant reaction when we first mentioned it.

They have a terrific roasted young chicken that is quite memorable!

Stuart’s story doesn’t surprise me. The owners are quite friendly and engaging unless you try to bend their rules, which are unbendable. I went there once with some fairly well known names in the wine world, we bought many top wines from them including one or two mags of Gros Richebourg 99, etc. A friend had brought with him a very rare Sherry he wanted to pour for us at the very end of the meal. After buying all that wine, I had assumed it wouldn’t be an issue, and we asked the owner if we might drink it. “No” was the one word reply. Fearing something might have been lost in translation, the guest who brought it asked politely, again, in French. “Non” was again the one word reply.

Its a great, fun place, but when there, you play by their rules. (As I guess it is in any restaurant, I suppose).

PS Their wine list is stronger in the Rhone than in Burgundy. “You know why that is” said my friend. I’ll leave it to the reader to figure that one out. neener

1Not to belabor the point, but in our case, we were with a well-known winemaker who , with his wife, were social friends of the owners; they had been to their respective homes, etc. The winemaker, therefore, didn’t want to be too assertive about the wine. When he finally agreed that it was horribly flawed and did the talking, this is what he got for his polite efforts: essentially “what do you want, the wine just isn’t good!..I told you so…” It made everyone very uncomfortable, especially the winemaker.


Maybe I’m a little slow but can you explain ?


Just saying the owners of Ma Cuisine are quite rigid. They’re very nice and the food is good but don’t expect any favors. We spent several thousand dollars of wine (we are talking mags of Richebourg and I think a DRC plus many other wines). A friend (himself a well liked known person in the industry) had a bottle of fine old sherry in his bag that he had intended to serve us before but plans changed. “do you think they will let us drink it here?” he asked after our dinner. We thought they might but since the restaurant is “no byob” they mean NO byob period. And that’s their right. I’m just illustrating their rigidity which goes on the heels of Stuarts post.

Just to clarify. When I say we spent $$$$ on wine I mean from their list at their restaurant. We just asked at the end if we could pour a sherry one diner had brought. The other wines were purchased from Ma Cuisine.