This is an old favorite, and for some reason, a date night favorite of the hubby’s (although he never really actually plans the infrequent date night). Chapeau moved closer to our house, taking the space of Clementine, and now resides walking distance from us. We love the owner, who is so overly gracious and friendly, he’ll run out after you when you leave just to say thank you and give you a kiss goodbye. We also think it’s funny that so many of the servers at the old location were Chinese (I think he pulled on some of the very-French-Fraunch waiters from Clementine when he took over the space). I think the owner is married to a Chinese woman, so maybe now, I like him even more despite his yellow fever (it’s much cooler if you’re French and dig Asian woman than if you’re a white guy at Cal digging Asian girls).
This place is not about reinventing the wheel, so don’t go El Bulli on me here. It’s Classic French dishes and even better, classic French sauces oozing with butter and then before you can stand it, more butter. I decided to start with the Escargots, classically prepared and slurpily delicious, despite my squeamish husband sitting across from me (this, from the same man who ate dog once in China). I have to digress for a sec here, because the husband got the PEI Mussel soup which was seriously littered with mussels and a creamy shellfish broth (that I thought would be sure to kick in the lactose-intolerant thing — he held strong though, and I was proud). The frites were stubby (no longer than 2″) and wonderfully oversalted (that might be a pregnancy thing again).
Entree was the pork tenderloin wrapped in bacon (because what’s better than pork wrapped in pork?) with a parsnip puree, sous vide spinach (seriously) and an apple-Calvados sauce. I judiciously dipped my pork in my sauce, knowing that an obese pregnant woman isn’t a pretty thing, but it didn’t slow down the gent to my left who greedily slopped up all of the sauce like it was the Depression again (I admit, he was an old guy, which reminded me of the Depression, and perhaps that’s wrong, but it’s not about me and my personal defects here, it’s about food).
Ended with the classic profiteroles, and then rolled home to sit there with my 6 month pregnant belly pushed to its limit with the fetus/overindulgent meal cross-combo. By the way, I had a Sprite for dinner. So for all of you who were going to call Child Services on me for past imbibing, suck it!
I learned my husband has absolutely no gossip to tell me…ever. Why are men like that? When I inquired about a friend who got a divorce in the past year and is getting remarried like now, he actually had the gall to say to me “I don’t ask. If they want to tell me, they’ll tell me.” I mean, what’s up with that? It’s like he has morals or something.
That said, I can at least tell you that he needs a haircut, which brought up a brief discussion about his barber, who was once imprisoned for manslaughter (which is not as bad as 1st or 2nd degree, but hey, it’s still a homicide!). Oh, and if you go to Chapeau and you have hair that is not streaked with grey, prepare to be the youngest ones there or alternatively, eat at the bar where Social Security isn’t the hot topic of the night (alright, I’ll admit it, we were also eating at 6:30, but at least I wasn’t in bed by 8…you know, because of the Project Runway finale and all).
Bauer’s two cents here.