Restaurants & Bars 2

Cafe Chardonnay: NE visiting hound review (long)

mainemal | Jan 15, 200806:00 AM

As an infrequent visitor to S. Florida, I had checked this board before a recent weekend visit to my mother-in-law in Lake Worth, and been disheartened by (apparently) the lack of decent places to eat. Saw mixed reviews of Chardonnay, but m-in-l wanted to go, so we did, and I was pleasantly surprised.
3 of us ate mostly from the evening specials: partner and MIL ate multiple appetizers; I ate firsts and entree. Partner had Tombo carpaccio w/ poached artichokes, garbanzo hummus, which she loved: as with all dishes we ate this evening, the flavors were subtle and interesting, nothing dominating beyond the fish. MIL started with the mini shellfish paella (made with pearl couscous): again, lively and simple flavors, good tastes. All our dishes were of a reasonable (not overly large) size: enough for good tastes and leaving us wanting more. Both of them moved onto a standard item, wild mushroom strudle: excellent taste of the fungi, although the "strudle" was more like a spring roll, and clearly produced in quantity. I had the hit dish of the evening (everyone tasted): the open-face fire roasted beef tenderloin "Taco:" lovely chunks of mildly seasoned and tender beef, again with excellent flavor accompaniements.
I was the only entre eater, and thoroughly enjoyed mahi with lobster dumplings (quite tasty), morel mushrooms (dried, a wonderful flavor with the fish), and a root veggie "fricassee". I was impressed not only with the taste (carrot, celergy, and, best of all, turnip), but with the fact of its seasonal presentation.
Only disappointment of the evening was the key lime pie (de rigeur for us Yankee visitors!) which was weak in flavour and overly gelatinous.
Wine choices were decent, if slightly overpriced (don't know what the FL standard is, but there were several on the list that I can purchase retail for $10 going for > $35).
Service was excellent and attentive without being obsequious; a request for an additional item was met promptly and courteously.
All in all, I would defnitely return on a future trip. Again, for the me the high point was that all the dishes came well prepared (fish, e.g., was cooked perfectly) with subtle and not overwhelming flavours of interest, and in reasonable quantity.

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