Last Updated on Thursday, 05 January 2012 12:30
Chateau Du Lac
WHY IT'S NOTEWORTHY
The grand French restaurants of thirty years ago are gone from New Orleans. In their place are the French bistros, with their much simpler menus and lower prices. The good news is that this has not caused a decline in the goodness of the food. Indeed, what the bistros serve may be better than what the old fancy places did. In the upper reaches of this style is Chateau du Lac, one of the few bistros that actually has a French chef-owner cooking classical French dishes. The premises are charming and the food is polished and free of pretense.
The chef innovates freely. How else could there be a foie gras gumbo here? But Jacques's menu hews mostly to traditional French themes, straight out of the classical canon. There is a reason that this style of cooking became famous: it's really good. Jacques buys excellent ingredients and serves them generously. The sauces in particular reach deep into the French repertoire and are intensely enjoyable, such that you will find your voice raised in surprised pleasure in the eating.
Owner-chef Jacques Seleun hails from Brittany. After classical training in France, he came to America to take a job in New York at the behest of the woman he would shortly marry. Jacques and Paige opened the original Chateau du Lac in a small storefront in Kenner in 2005--right before Katrina. They returned there soon after the storm, but in 2007 they moved to the much more amenable present location in Old Metairie. There the Seleuns took over the space formerly the home of Chez Daniel--a restaurant much like this one.
The old restaurant in an older strip mall has been renovated nicely, but remains informal and rustic. The first room includes a large bar and an open kitchen, as well as a row of tables. To the left is a bigger dining room, with large windows opening onto Metairie Road.
»Cheese and charcuterie board
Salad of baby greens, walnuts, sun-dried tomatoes, and warm Brie cheese on brioche
Baby spinach salad, sultanas, cranberry-goat cheese cake, almonds, sherry vinaigrette
»Endive salad, walnuts, grapes, brown sugar-dijon vinaigrette, gorgonzola cheese
Shrimp and avocado remoulade
Baby greens, French vinaigrette
»BLT salad (fried egg, frisée, teardrop tomatoes, bacon, red wine vinaigrette)
Poached pear and beet salad
Mâché salad, walnuts, Champagne vinaigrette
»Onion soup gratinee
»Foie gras gumbo
»Soupe du jour
Filet burger and frites (option: seared foie gras)
Smoked Scottish salmon
»Tarte flambée au jambon cru, caramelized onions, prosciutto, Swiss cheese
»Filet mignon, pommes frites, au poivre or bearnaise
»Roasted half duckling, orange glaze
»Braised lamb shank, French lentils
Poisson du jour
»Seared sea scallops, saffron creme
Pavé de boeuf (ribeye steak) with melted Roquefort
»Roasted chicken with mushrooms
Wilted spinach and mushrooms
Grilled asparagus and bearnaise
»Apple tarte Antoine
FOR BEST RESULTS
Be sure to reserve if going on a weekend. Scale back your order from what you'd usually get in a French place; the portions are unusually large. The specials include some of the best food here, so find out all about them before making any decisions.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
From opening day to now, the seafood entrees have been of less interest than those using terrestrial foodstuffs.
FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.
- Dining Environment +1
- Consistency +2
- Service +1
- Attitude +2
- Wine and Bar +1
- Hipness +1
- Local Color +2
- Good for business meetings
- Medium private room
- Open Monday lunch and dinner
- Good for children
- Easy, nearby parking
- Reservations accepted
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