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Chloé

[From the Chloé website]

Still another restaurant post, but maybe the last one for a while.

Two nights ago we ate at Chloé, a self-described French bistrot. I had suggested to our friend Kai the day before that we attend an event the next night at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. A new exhibit, Carnaval, opened last week, an exhibit that “highlights eight Carnival celebrations from communities in Europe and the Americas.” Saturday night there was to be a celebration of the exhibit, with music and food and special guests. I also suggested that we might eat dinner nearby first, and Kai in turn proposed Chloé.

Chloé occupies the space that for over two decades was the home of the popular Union Bay Cafe. We hadn’t paid much attention to its replacement until driving by last spring, when we caught its name and agreed that we should try it. We made a reservation for some upcoming occasion, perhaps Mother’s Day, then found ourselves needing to cancel. Thus, Kai’s proposal was a welcome one.

Given the museum event, we had to eat early. When we arrived at 5:30, we had the place to ourselves. That would change. It was nearly full on our departure at 7:15. The menu is a small one, faithful as best we could tell to the mission of duplicating a French bistrot. There’s a section given over to mussels. The entrées include trout amandine with haricots verts, poulet rôti, hanger steak, steak frites (or, more precisely, medallions of beef in a green peppercorn sauce with french fries). Appetizers include a duck leg confit and frogs legs.

The soup of the day Saturday was potato leek. Kai and I had that while Gail had the onion soup. Kai and I agreed that our soup was excellent. Gail seemed pretty happy with hers. For dinner, Gail ordered one of the specials, lamb chops with potatoes au gratin. I was tempted, but went instead with the medallions of beef. What did Kai have? I’m picturing something pink, like a beet risotto, with scallops on top. Maybe so. It would have been the other special entrée.

Once again, we were all happy with our selections. I hadn’t had french fries in a while. I loved mine. And the beef was good too, in a delightful peppercorn sauce. I don’t know where they get their bread, but it was fabulous.

The museum and its off-season celebration of Carnaval beckoned. No crème brûlée for me. But not to worry. We’ll be back. I remarked to Gail as we got into the car that if Chloé were in our neighborhood, I’d eat there all the time.

By the way — funny thing about that. We have more than our share of French restaurants in the commercial strip of the nearby neighborhood known as Madison Valley, just over a mile’s walk away from here. I have written often about Rover’s, perhaps the best French restaurant in Seattle, and its newer, simpler sibling Luc, Chef Thierry Rautureau’s take on French bistros. Across the street from them are two more French restaurants, La Côte Crêperie and Voilà. I have written about La Côte Crêperie, though not lately.

Voilà? I never wrote about it, for the good reason that I’ve never been there. Gail has urged me to try it. I figured I was happy enough with the other three. I didn’t need to. Not a very intelligent response. Plus, if we don’t want to walk, it can be hard to park in that neighborhood, a fact that doesn’t seem to stand in the way of our getting to Rover’s, Luc, or La Côte Crêperie.

Why have I resisted eating at Voilà? I have no idea. But guess what? It is in fact the older sibling to Chloé. The menu doesn’t look a whole lot different from Chloé’s. Several choices of mussels. Two steak frites options, the hanger steak or a New York strip. Duck leg confit. The menus are different, for sure, but with plenty of overlap.

Silly me — it would seem that Voilà is the answer to my pronouncement to Gail Saturday that I would eat at Chloé all the time if it were in our neighborhood. You may be seeing me at Voilà regularly now.

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