Friday, April 8, 2016

Chez Moi or Quel Suprise

The Slow and Savory Review

Though Brandy is unquestionably the expert on brunch, there has always been one part of her studies that has been impossible to progress at.  "I can tell you anything you want to know about chicken and waffles, biscuits and gravy, eggs benedict, pancakes, French toast, or mimosas," Brandy admits, "But Bloody Mary's have never been my cup of tea, so to speak."  She has tried several times to enjoy the traditional breakfast cocktail and has come close to finding some she found palatable, but there has never been a Bloody Mary she wanted to drink a whole cup of in all her years of brunching.

Her friend Hawk, who is a bit of a perfectionist, was disturbed by this blank space on her score sheet.  "You can't call yourself a brunch expert when you can't talk about where your favorite Bloody Mary is!" he explained to her one day, "I am making it my personal mission to find a Bloody Mary you like so that you have at least one in your Rolodex."  After a lot of research, Hawk found a candidate he felt fairly certain about on Chez Moi's new brunch menu.

Chez Moi in Lincoln Park is the current residence of Chef Dominique Tougne, who created one of Brandy's favorite brunch destinations of yore, Bistro 110.  The adorable spot was very much decorated with old world charm in mind, having lots of dramatic woods, Gothic art, and wrought iron, but without being too heavy or oppressive.  Brandy especially loved the high ceilings and crystal chandeliers that added a touch of classic coziness.

To warm up before she dove into the Bloody Mary, Brandy first tried the Royale Mimosa.  This particular iteration of her favored brunch cocktail was soft, sweet, and less acidic than a traditional mimosa with an extraordinary floral note from the use of orange liqueur.  After that came the moment of truth.  Brandy had the bar tender prepare a small portion of the dreaded Bloody Mary, just in case she didn't care for it, but right away she could tell that this one was something different.  "The trick with this Bloody is that it's made with a French onion soup base," Hawk proudly told her, and Brandy had to admit that she was intrigued.  The over all flavor was less tomatoey, but definitely savory, with a good salty kick, and came garnished with a blue cheese stuffed olive and a hunk of beef pate.  "Oh my goodness," Brandy exclaimed, "I don't want to alarm you, but I think I may actually finish this whole glass!  Well done, my friend, you've achieved the impossible and found me a Bloody Mary I actually enjoy!"

Now with a taste for onion soup, Brandy placed an order for the classic French bistro dish to start off her meal.  This version was spot on with a generous amount of melty cheese on top and a rich, complex soup underneath.  Brandy especially liked that this version incorporated several different types of onions, which added to the deep flavor.

Hawk, satisfied that he had accomplished his goal, settled in for the simple Omelette Au Fromage with ham.  The texture of the eggs was lovely, not being too dense or fluffy, and the proportion of cheese and salty ham was just right.  Hawk also appreciated that his side dish was a nice light salad, where as if it had been the more often seen home fries or house potatoes, it would have taken away from the classic bistro feel.

Brandy chose the Quiche Lorraine, remembering how she had adored the quiche she had at Bistro 110 so long ago.  Needless to say, she was not disappointed.  This quiche was still the silkiest, smoothest, most decadent quiche she'd ever tasted with a wafer thin, buttery crust and an intense smokey flavor from the bacon.  "Oh, I have missed this quiche!" Brandy sighed, "If I wasn't sure this thing was full of enough cream to stop a marathon runner's heart, I'd be eating this every day for the rest of my life."

Finishing off the meal with something sweet, Brandy and Hawk split an order of Pan Perdu, a lovely take on a French toast made with pan fried brioche and a raspberry coulis.  The toast was eggy and soft with the perfect custardy consistency, while the raspberry sauce and fresh fruit added a much needed brightness to hover the dish right over the line of breakfast and dessert.  Hawk especially couldn't resist scooping up the sauce on its own and savoring its flavor.

"Well, I thought it couldn't be done.  I'm not even sure that I believe it myself.  But you managed to find a Bloody Mary I could literally drink gallons of," Brandy smiled at her friend.  As if this monumental discovery wasn't enough, the friendly service, reasonable prices, and extraordinarily flavorful food gave Brandy plenty of reasons to return to Chez Moi.  "You know, I'm still not entirely convinced I enjoyed that Bloody Mary as much as I first thought I did," Brandy said, eyeing her empty glass, "I might have to have another one.  Just to make sure.  For scientific purposes."

The writers of this blog were invited to dine at the restaurant free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

The Short and Sweet Review

Chez Moi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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