Thursday, May 12, 2016

Chez Francois Restaurant

Whoops, I am a week late on finishing telling you about our overnight trip to Vermilion. May is always the busiest time for me at work, and time just starts to slip away. But, I had to pause to tell you about the dinner that Mr. H and I had at Chez Francois.

Over the years, they've picked up many awards and accolades, and diners from Cleveland have flocked to Vermilion to see for themselves. Me? This was my first time truly dining there (have attended an annual private fundraiser there for years), and it had been on my Cleveland Dining Bucket List for quite some time.

Mr. H and I headed over to the restaurant early from our B&B, with hopes of grabbing a drink at the bar of the more casual Touche upstairs (same owners). The craft cocktails that we found there were even better than expected, but I guess that I shouldn't have been surprised.
That Mango Martini was refreshing, and really started the evening off on a high note.

After about an hour, we wandered downstairs for our 7:30PM reservation.
Now, here's where the only negative of the experience took place. I'll start by saying that we were in NO hurry and there for an "experience," but the time frame that it took from us being seated until we ordered was just absurd. We were first given a wine list, and our server had the sommelier make a recommendation for us. He then said that he'd "let us settle in and enjoy the wine for a bit." Totally okay. But, about 45 minutes went by, and I started to notice that other tables seated after us were already enjoying first courses. We hadn't even seen a menu yet. They showed up 48 minutes after we had been seated, and by then the lengthy menu was just daunting. A Chef's Tasting? Sure, sounds good, makes it easy! We placed our order for two tastings about an hour and twenty minutes after our reservation time. That's a first.

Overall, we tried about 9 dishes total. For a couple of the courses, Mr. H and I selected the same item from the limited choices included in the tasting.

Courses included beef tartar...
and steak with duck confit and morel mushrooms.
Of the 9 dishes that we tried, I would say that 3 were knock-outs. I loved the spring pea soup shooter, lobster ravioli, and my steak with duck confit and mushrooms. The others were all very good as well, but on par with what we find in Cleveland.

One thing that truly sets Chez Francois apart is the dress code.
It is one of the only remaining restaurants in the area that requires a jacket for men and appropriate evening attire for women. It was certainly fun to get even more dressed up than we normally would for a romantic meal out together.

To summarize, I'm glad that we crossed this one off of the Dining Bucket List (more coming soon on that), three courses left me dreaming about them, and it was a fun excuse to see my hubby all dressed up. The timing of the start of the meal was just curious, but I'm guessing not usual. I don't know that we'll be rushing to drive back out to Vermilion for it, when there is so much good food here in the city, but it was worth the trip at least once. Just save it for a special occasion, and consider making an overnight of it. The town is cute, and we had a great time poking around for a day. So...have you been to Chez Francois?

What's on your Cleveland Dining Bucket List?

Chez Francois 
555 Main Street
Vermilion, OH