Sunday, November 18, 2007

Chez Shea, Chez Disppointment

I love food. I married a French girl. I now love French food. As a happy married couple how could we not want to go to a romantic setting and eat French food. So we looked forward to going to Chez Shea which had been described as hidden gem of white linen French cuisine.

This gem was more of a piece of coal.

The first strike was when we got there at 8:45 for our reservation of a window seat table and were told our table wasn't ready since another party had stayed longer. We waited at the bar where it took a good ten minutes for the barman who told us to wait to stop empty the dishwasher and take our drink order.

We got seated almost 20 minutes later in a half empty dinner room at an inside table, around 10 minutes to get drinks and they dropped the bread on the floor which they finally brought at around 9:30.

I did love how quiet and intimate the space was and the wall of windows looking out over the pier and water. Maybe if the food had been exceptional it would have made the poor service less memorable. But the food while very nice was not special except for the dessert.

The menu:
We started with oysters with two vinaigrettes, one was mango infused and one was garlic based, they were lovely, raw and slid down our throats, the vinaigrette enhanced the oyster own fresh taste. The quality of the oyster what made the dish.

For the second course the wife had a salmon tartare which was small and not that interesting with a short stack of flat bread alternating with salmon tartare and salmon roe on top. My second course was great, seared Foie Gras, a smaller piece then I was expecting but seared to perfection. It was served on an apple tart which I know they put on it for the contrast of the flavors but the tart should have been more well tart than sweet and I ended up eating the separately. Again what made the dish so good was the Foie Gras and not the whole dish.

For our entrees I had the duck confit that was far from the best I've had (the best in Seattle being at Crave). My sides of french beans and green were horrible. I literally couldn't eat them, the greens were tough and the beans weren't fully cooked. The wife had a chanterelle and chevre herbed crepe that was good but as she said not exceptional. For dessert the chocolate cake was like one big luscious truffle. It was really exceptional and if it was made in house, the pasty chef is a star.

My wife was concerned that the poor service had to due with her attire of a Mohawk and causal wear but I had checked in advance and there was no jacket requirement so we were at a loss as to why the service was so tepid.

I still love French food and a good French restuarant and I plan on finding it in Seattle.