The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Classy French @ Chanterelle, New York

Chanterelle is a French restaurant that comes highly recommended by NYC foodies. It's a classy restaurant, with great service, wonderfully presented dishes, and (*ahem*) a nice price to boot. With plenty of raving reviews and recommendations, I did not hesitate to book a table for two. Alas, being a popular restaurant, I couldn't book dinner for Saturday on such a short notice, so lunch it was. As with many restaurants, the lunch menu at Chanterelle is rather limited, but the lunch "prix fixe" (i.e. fixed price) meals are a great way to sample some of the restaurant's dishes, at less than half the price.

The restaurant is beautifully decorated, with a romantic feel enhanced by the lace curtains and chandeliers. It would be a perfect venue for a traditional wedding. We were treated with attentive and professional service, and we were made quite comfortable. For $42 per person (not including tax or tips), we received three courses, including coffee/tea and truffles to finish off. One thing we have noticed when dining in New York is the NY-ers' tendency to name the main course entrée (this Wikipedia entry verifies this observation). Appetizer is the term used to describe what we know as entrée. Interesting, no? Photos of Rob's meal are a tad blurry - I think Rob wasn't as concerned with good camera-work as he was with eating.

After placing our order for drinks (tomato juice for me and ginger ale/soda for Rob), we were served with an amuse bouche - salmon mousse with salmon roe atop black bread. (I nicknamed this one oyako-pan (Japanese for "parent-child bread"), since it's like oyako-don, a Japanese dish of chicken and egg on top of rice - both the 'parent' and its egg are served together.)

My appetiser was Soup of the Day, which was a cold zucchini soup with chickpea croutons. It was very tasty for what seems to be a vegan dish, and the crunchy chickpea added a nice contrasting texture. Rob's appetiser was Crisped Soft-shelled Crab with Wilted Aragula and Citrus Vinaigrette. The vinaigrette was refreshing and complemented the slightly oily crab quite well. Mmmm yummy :)

My entrée aka main course was Spiced New Zealand Snapper Escabeche, served on a bed of green beans and a delicious sweet and sour salsa. The liquid surrounding the food was a delicately flavoured oil. The snapper was plainly presented with a crisp spicy coating, and the flavourful ingredients did very well to dress this dish up. Rob's entrée: Brined Berkshire Organic Pork Loin with Coarse Mustard, Muscat and Ginger, with leafy greens and hash.

Then it was dessert time! I had an assortment of sorbets, with peach, apricot and raspberry with a lovely butter cookie. You can taste that real fruits were used in each of the flavoured sorbet. I liked the texture of the apricot sorbet the best - the fruit flesh lends a nice gooey creamy feel to the sorbet texture. The other dessert on the prix fixe lunch menu was a Local Sweet Plum, Almond and Crème Fraîche Tart with Port Plum Ice Cream. Rob was concerned that the alcoholic taste would be quite strong in this dessert, but he needn't worry. I just loved the play of colours on his dessert plate.

And if there weren't enough sugar and fat in our desserts, our waiter served us some white and dark chocolate truffles to indulge in. Rich, chocolatey goodness:

Rob thought that the serving size was too small for him, whereas I thought it was just right. But then again, I do have a smaller appetite than Rob. Overall, this was yet another lovely dining experience in NYC, with many more to follow, I'm sure.


  1. OMG Jean! Talk about YUMMMMMM!!!!
    *drooling & craving @ the photos*
    Any chance u could send some via Fed-Ex? :)
    RiN xxooxx