Quel dommage

I wanted to like Chevalier tonight, I really did.  A fine, classic French restaurant in Lafayette would be an asset to the city and a place to enjoy some old-fashioned elegance.  Unfortunately, dinner was a failure.

We went out with BJ and Larry Ledgerwood for what should have been a great experience.  Chevalier is right on Moraga Road, in a strip mall with little parking.  The facility itself isn’t large, but the patio has considerable seating, and that’s where we chose to eat.

The menu is French, French, French.  Escargot Bourgingone, Torchon de Foie Gras, Salade Nicoise, and that’s just the appetizers.  Prices are steep, except for the prix fixe menu, which offers 3 courses for $39.

Friday nights are busy, and Chevalier simply doesn’t have enough staff to handle the crowd.  We were promptly seated for our 6:45 reservation, but it was quite a while before food started to arrive.

Enjoy it while you can.

At first, the food was wonderful.  Foie Gras will be illegal in California on July 1, courtesy of the tree-huggers at PETA, so that’s what I started with.  A torchon of liver from an over-stuffed goose, accompanied by a bit of poached pear, was excellent.

Gail loves escargot, and I love sopping up the garlic butter, so we had winner #2.

Skate wing–hard to find, hard to cook. This one is about perfect.

The special this week was Massachusetts skate wing, a marvelous piece of fish you rarely find.  The chef did a magnificent job of preparing it, served on very thick, creamy mashed potatoes with a unique vegetable melange which included some very tiny purple carrots.  I’ve never seen anything like it before.

Chicken. Just chicken. BJ has a nice manicure, don’t you think?

BJ ordered the poulet.  You would expect that there would be something special about the chicken here, but you’d be wrong. This was just plain roast chicken, and nothing you couldn’t make at home and probably better.

Filet Mignon, theoretically.

So there I was, enjoying my skate, and Gail offered me a taste of her filet.  I bit into it, and chewed, and chewed, and chewed.  I don’t know what kind of meat that was, or where they bought it, but it was decidedly not what you would expect from a $44 filet in a first rate restaurant.  It was dreadful.  It may have been camel meat.  Gail sent it away, not wanting anything else.

Larry’s sorbet. LIght, fresh, tasty the way sorbet should be.

 

Desserts were back to excellent–Larry’s sorbet was light and fresh, BJ’s creme brulee was everything it should be.  I had the molten cake with creme anglaise and had to fight Gail for it.

Chevalier is almost incomprehensibly inconsistent.  Some of the food was superb, some was damn near inedible.  The waitress was clearly trying, but she was over-worked, had too many tables to handle comfortably and they appear to employ no runners or expediters to help the waitstaff–because she only has two hands, our server could only bring out two dishes at a time and had to make a long trip back to the kitchen for the rest, so we could not all be served together.

Due to the debacle with the filet, that entree was taken off the bill, along with a round of drinks and one dessert.  And the bill for the four of us was still over $200.

I wanted to like it, I really did.  But there is just no way I can recommend Chevalier. Quel dommage.

 

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Quel dommage

  1. We went out with BJ and Larry Ledgerwood for what should have been a great experience. Chevalier is right on Moraga Road, in a strip mall with little parking. The facility itself isn’t large, but the patio has considerable seating, and that’s where we chose to eat.

  2. they get one star for having all person working in the restaurant have a authentic french accent. Makes me feel at home. the menu was phenominal and reading all of the selections had me drooling before I had made my decision. They were participating the gormet east bay pre fix menu . I opten for the onion soup ( fantastic!) and the Coq Au Vin followed by the creme brulee. As a french person and while at a french restaurant complete with good wine and french people I expected I could not go wrong with this selection. the chicken was not good. The creme brulee was fantastic as was the wine. I plan to try it again, and am hoping o be wowed by the entree.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: