Opened in 2013 at the historic Stockton Hotel and inspired by the famed French Quarter neighborhood in the Big Easy, French 25’s cuisine captures the essence and flavors of the New Orleans culinary experience.
“It’s a niche we can carve out that no one is doing,” said General Manager Tony Talbot about the theme and menu items. “We have the fare that speaks to everyone.”
Sitting at the corner of El Dorado Street and East Weber Avenue, the white tablecloth restaurant with its white marble bar and overhead soft New Orleans jazz, offers matchless views of the city overlooking DeCarli Plaza and the Deep Water Channel.
Talbot said he was fascinated with the Stockton downtown area with its waterfront and revitalization when selecting the location.
“Stockton and New Orleans have many similarities – port city, the people, some history – it’s a melting pot,” Talbot said.
Talbot describes the cuisine at French 25 as “Creole, with hints of Cajun,” explaining that Cajun can be “hot and mean” while Creole has French, Spanish, and Native American elements.
“It’s a true American food of the blend of foreign palates,” Talbot claimed.
According to Talbot, the most popular item on the menu, not surprisingly, is their Jambalaya prepared with fresh chicken, shrimp, Andouille sausage, peppers, tomatoes, and Creole spices.
Other unique specialties from the menu include Shrimp Etouffee with sautéed shrimp and vegetables in a hearty, sweet stew served over white rice or my favorite, their Chicken and Waffles of fried chicken over a malted waffle with maple syrup and green onions, topped with powdered sugar.
Their Cajun Chicken Tortellini includes Cajun spiced chicken, a spicy cream sauce with cheese tortellini, tomatoes, and Parmesan cheese and the Blackened Fettuccine Alfredo has a rich and creamy fettuccine alfredo adorned with your choice of blackened shrimp, chicken, or salmon.
“For someone who can’t decide or wants a bit of everything, I suggest our French 25 Sampler,” Talbot said. “It’s the perfect portion of our big three – shrimp and grits, the Cajun tortellini and our Jambalaya.”
Talbot, who has over 25 years in the restaurant business, said he and his executive staff went to New Orleans for a few weeks to prepare for the restaurant opening, meeting the renowned Chef Gerard Maras of the French Quarter.
“We went down there and tried everything,” Talbot said. “We wanted to make sure we did things right.”
Talbot added that Chef Mara cautioned them about trying to be too authentic of New Orleans.
“He told us, ‘Use your California influence and be original too’,” Talbot said.
French 25 chef Raul Mondragon has over 20 years in the restaurant business, having spent 10 years of his career in Chicago working alongside famed chef Charlie Trotter.
“Through the years, I’ve captured a number of styles,” Mondragon said, “from Italian, French, Spanish and also Cajun and Creole.”
With French 25’s open kitchen, Mondragon can be seen within French 25’s kitchen, working on preparing the traditional New Orleans fare.
Talbot said French 25’s mission is to enrich the lives of guests, employees and the owners. The restaurant looks to accomplish this goal with superior quality food and beverages, legendary customer service, and treating employees like family.IF YOU GO:
110 N. El Dorado St., Stockton
Monday through Friday: 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Monday through Thursday: 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Happy Hours from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. with appetizers along with all beer, liquor and wine by the glass are half off the regular price.