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August, 2010, Page 187
Photos by David Moore
Chocolate and Swiss cheese fondue
You’ll crave the crêpes and say ‘oui’ to everything else at this charming addition to the West Valley, which fuses French and Swiss cuisine.
The French get a bad rap for, among other things, being rude, ungrateful, snooty and building Renaults.
But their reputation, at least locally, should experience some repair now that Le Chalet is in town. This marriage of French and Swiss cuisine is a product of Anthony Ferre (from Paris) and Alain Keller (from Geneva, Switzerland), who in February opened one of the most charming, quirky and delicious restaurants this year.
The charm starts with the dark wood, rock-accented walls, wine barrel tables and framed posters of French icons such as the Moulin Rouge and Citroëns. It continues with cheerful, efficient service.
The quirkiness comes from two elements. One, a video screen above the bar that transmits a live feed from the kitchen, allowing patrons to watch crêpes being made. Two, a stage resembling an ice cave that’s supposed to recall the Alps. It’s strangely
Best of all, the food is
, partly because of high-quality imported ingredients. Start with creamy, tangy Swiss cheese fondue ($17.50) with baguette croutons, or a traditional
($9.50) tart piled with sour cream, bacon, onion and Swiss cheese.
Then, pick a crêpe, any crêpe. Whether stuffed with beef bourguignon ($8.50; a daily special) or melted blue cheese, caramelized apples and walnuts ($8.95), these shine as bright as anything in the City of Light.
Savory crêpes are made with organic, low-calorie buckwheat flour, so they’re dark but delicate. Decadent dessert crêpes – including the classic Nutella ($3.90) and ultimate chocolate ($8.25) – are made with white flour and are definitely not low-cal. Dark chocolate fondue ($16) is also amazing. Good luck deciding.
While the crêpes – accompanied by a lovely green salad with grain mustard dressing – make an ideal lunch, you can’t go wrong sharing one and a Matterhorn salad ($11.50). It’s a mountain of green goodness studded with Emmenthaler cheese, sliced prosciutto, diced tomatoes and walnuts.
For a heartier meal, try the signature dish: “La Potence” ($25), 10 ounces of juicy beef tenderloin medallions flambéed tableside and served with five lip-smacking dipping sauces. Beef fondue ($23.75) is fun, but you run the risk of over- or under-cooking the dabs of meat. Leave the cooking to the pros.
If you’ve never had Swiss Raclette ($15.50), order it as a side dish to La Potence. The cheese is melted tableside, sliced onto plates and served with the most perfectly cooked fingerlings I’ve ever had.
I don’t speak French, but I know
Address: 5626 W. Bell Road,
Ste. 101, Glendale
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to
11 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Highlights: Swiss cheese fondue ($17.50), Swiss Raclette ($15.50), Matterhorn salad ($11.50), traditional
($9.50), Roquefort crêpe ($8.95), La Potence ($25), ultimate chocolate crêpe ($8.25), Nutella crêpe ($3.90), chocolate fondue for two ($16)
— Geri Koeppel can be reached at
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