I know I've mentioned a zillion times here that I was a French major, did a semester in France, yada yada. Bottom line, I'm an unabashed francophile. Someone at work mentioned Chateau West, a French restaurant that opened last year, and I wanted to give it a go. I heard the chef is French, and the prices looked very reasonable on the menu, so I suggested it for a girls' night with Lindsey and Krista.
Chateau West is located between a gas station and a strip mall, but don't let that distract you from its charm. There was a valet ready to take our car, and the charming little building felt like a little house or cottage of sorts. (I later learned it used to be a pancake house, which makes sense looking at the architecture.) One thing we noticed was that everyone was pretty dressed up for a Nashville dinner. You could probably get away with jeans, but hardly anyone else will be wearing them, so dress up a little. Most men were in jackets. The majority of the diners seemed to be Baby Boomers and older, so that worried me a little at first. This review I found from the Nashville Scene is pretty amazing and hit the atmosphere spot in. I needn't have worried, as you'll read. The bathroom was a little odd location-wise, located almost in the kitchen it felt like, and the water pressure was in need of a (noted on a sign) fix. Very clean and no other concerns there. The space is small, so I highly recommend reservations.
Our waiter was attentive, albeit a little bit more country than we expected for a French resto. He was a great salesman with great charm. We ordered a plate of cheeses to start. I liked half of the cheeses, which is on par for my relationship with cheese; it was all tasty, I just can't handle the strongest ones. This is how you know I'm not French. I also had a French Cabernet Sauvignon to drink, very nice.
There was a little bit of time between courses, not *too* much time, but enough to notice. It made me laugh at first, how we're so used to being served in a snap, when in France it would be wayyyy slower. For my main course, I ordered the Duck Chambord. I love duck, so much so that I eat it pretty much whenever it's on a menu. I got hooked as a result of my time in France. This duck breast was perfect, served on pommes miettes (potatoes) with beautiful berries and sauce. It had a sweet taste, which is how I like my duck. I cleaned my plate.
For dessert, because dessert, we had the sampler that included crème brûlée, a cream-filled crepe, and a profiterole. All were tasty, but the crème brûlée was the star; I'd order just that for dessert next time!
I have to give it to Chateau West, it is very reasonably priced for as nice of a dining experience as it is. I felt I received great food and value for my money!
We all wore black, by coincidence!
I left Chateau West initially a little underwhelmed by my experience, because I've gotten used to the bombastic foodie fare and flare of other places... "Farm to table" and reclaimed wood and trendy plating and all that. Chateau West felt so traditional. As I drove home, though, I kept thinking about that delicious duck; I really loved the meal. I realized that older crowd in the restaurant came there for exactly what Chateau West offers: traditional French cuisine, served traditionally and well. I know now that if I want a meal that reminds me of my dinners in Paris, Chateau West will deliver. And isn't it kind of hip to be old school?