At A French Delight…

Normally I don’t care much about celebrating my birthday. I like to celebrate every day, so what difference does my b-day make? I had planned to blow it out at Seattle’s Canlis restaurant for my big 6-0 last year, but Covid shut that plan down.

Deep Cove Chalet

So when this year’s b-day rolled around, I wanted to blow it out a little and made a reservation at the Deep Cove Chalet in North Saanich. The Deep Cove Chalet is an authentic French cuisine spot that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wanted to go to when they were camped out on Vancouver Island, but security concerns kept them from dining there.

But thankfully the web gal and I have no such concerns. It was fantastic to pull into their parking lot filled with all sorts of Jags, Mercedes, Corvettes, etc. and be led to a prime outdoor door table on their patio overlooking the waterfront. Just a gorgeous evening, no oppressive heat, spectacular sunset in front of us, plus terrific gardens to our right. Add on a super friendly, happy, golden retriever who was going to table to table for a pet and you couldn’t ask for a better atmosphere.

Kicking off our meal was a fab clam chowder for moi and a nice, cold smoked salmon plate for the web gal. I’ve had the gamut of clam chowders and the usual problem is they’re so damn bland. Usually where the owner has cheaped it and not put any real fish into it. But not at the Chalet, you could easily tell chef Pierre had put a bunch of clams and prawns into it which made for a tasty chowder.

Next up was an escargot dish that I wasn’t too crazy about. I was expecting the traditional puff pastry or the specifically designed escargot plate with little pods swimming in garlic and butter. Instead, it was a dish swimming in a spicy, tomato-based sauce that totally overwhelmed the taste of the escargots. But according to our waiter Craig, it’s one of the most popular items on their menu, so what do I know? The web gal had baked oysters in a delicious sauce which had her wishing there were more after she devoured them all. The web gal shared her tasty steam clams with me as she wanted to save room for her main course.

Since it was getting close to the main course I let the web gal choose the wine for once, ha ha.. And since I was the birthday boy, instead of choosing something sweet that she likes, she picked Francis Coppola’s Diamond Collection 2016 Black Label Claret. The cabernet paired nicely with our meals and surprisingly, she even enjoyed it.

For my main I had ordered the rack of lamb and it came to the table perfectly rare the way I had ordered it, along with some nicely, crisp green beans and creamy mashed potatoes. Between sips of the fine wine, tastes of great food and the awesome view and surroundings, couldn’t have asked for a better birthday experience. For the web gal’s main she had the pan fried filet of sable fish with vegetables that was presented beautifully and tasted as wonderful as it looked.

And for dessert I had the warm chocolate cake that came with a sparkler which was amusing and fun. Also, there were a couple of other tables that were celebrating birthdays, so it was fun to say, hey, it’s mine too and that cake was delicious as well. The web gal had the creme brulee that she said tasted creamy and yummy.

A very nice b-day dinner, got to experience Chef Pierre’s magic in a beautiful location. Heard a young man singing opera. Our waiter Craig was always moving to ensure everybody’s dining experience was happy. Also Chef Pierre’s wife and hostess Bev stopped by our table to ensure we had enjoyed our dinner as she does for every guest, and was happy to do the NSI quiz. Cheers and enjoy.

What was last night’s dinner? Hot Avocado.

Favorite music? Classical with some Van Morrison thrown in.

Favorite drink? White burgundy.

Favorite thing about living and working on the tip of Vancouver Island? Are you kidding? If you can beat this view, I’d like to know about it.

What makes a great restaurant? A combination of food, service and atmosphere. And I’m really proud that we deliver on all three.

Any wine, meal or trip on your bucket list? Why would I travel when I got all three right here? This is heaven on earth.

Any brush with celebrity? Oh, we get famous people and executives all the time, but it doesn’t matter to us, we treat everyone as best we can. Andre Agassi dined here and was very gracious.

Final thoughts? Just how grateful Pierre and I are for coming up on our 50th year together and to be doing what we love to do with the support of the community.