This location is now closed.
Joey mentioned to me that he was interested in trying Chateau Lamothe in Burnsville. Well known for its highly rated wine list, we did the restaurant absolutely no justice by sticking to water. A cozy and family run restaurant, this location pokes its head out from behind several suburban hotels and is buffered by an entrance ramp to I-35 right across from Nicollet Ave in Burnsville. We’d heard many good things about the place including that it was a near diamond in the rough and really brought something special to an area which was generally devoid of any similar dining options prior to Porter Creek Hardwood Grill.
Chateau Lamothe really rolls out the red carpet for its guests and provides everyone with a great overview of the menu, special care to explain the history behind their most famous dishes, and even delivers water in a festive holiday pitcher apparently dug from the depths of the chef’s home one winter night. All wonderful touches which make any restaurant a nice place to escape for an evening.
I ordered what was sold to me as one of Julia Child’s most famous dishes–Boeuf Bourguignon. A classic meal which Oprah’s website proclaims, “one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man,” sounded like the absolute best entree on the eve of, “the worst snow storm since the famed Halloween Blizzard of 1991.” Seriously, what isn’t to like when a dish contains bacon, beef, and red wine? This dish had me nearly foaming at the mouth prior to its arrival at the table. Clearly I had been looking forward to this meal for weeks as I always enjoy an evening out with my lovely wife and good friends while The Rooster squawks angrily at someone else for a few hours.
After dinner we went home and flipped through the Netflix streaming queue. About a week before I blindly added Julie and Julia based on a quick recommendation from a Netflix streaming aggregator site. I knew nothing about the movie aside from the fact that it was about Julia Child. Turns out it’s about a blogger who spends a year going through Julia Child’s famous cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking recreating the recipes and writing about her experiences. At one point near the end of the movie a woman who was reading over a copy of Julia’s recipes to determine its publishing worth decided to cook Boeuf Bourguignon at home. After tasting it she was nearly brought to her knees–a feeling which I myself have experienced a few times and, like any addict, wish to repeat time and time again…always searching for a better high.
So Chateau Lamothe’s large and steaming bowl of Boeuf Bourguignon arrives at the table. Simple enough with whole mushrooms, bright and fresh green peas poking out from behind potatoes and carrots, and a hunk of crusty bread just begging to receive a hearty dunking in the stew. Their recreation of Julia Child’s famous dish did not bring me to my knees and unfortunately while all of the ingredients were there and done correctly, it just lacked something I was unable to put a finger on. The meat was extremely tender but not to the point of falling apart, the potatoes were perfectly cooked and the mushrooms had just the right texture. Unfortunately it all tasted the same–like many of the stews I make each winter and somehow fail to execute properly. While they were trying very hard and were clearly interested in closing the feedback loop as the server, one of the owners, and even the chef came out of the kitchen to ask us how everything was, I was left at a loss for words. While it was fine, it wasn’t worth the $19 I paid for it.
But even so there were some bright spots. My friends both had excellent soups. The lobster bisque was a smooth, creamy and hearty concoction which brought kudos from Joey. His wife’s French onion soup, while not served exactly how you see it everywhere else, was hearty and full of what she proclaimed were the most perfectly sized onions for the soup. My wife’s pork and Joey’s wife’s Beef Wellington were both cooked to perfection.
However the misses kept on rolling in. My wife’s carrots and wild rice were missing any distinctive flavors. Everyone complained that the potatoes were bland and without salt and pepper available on our table, or any table in our immediate area for that matter, there was little hope for improvement. A half tomato covered in cheese adorned the sides of the ladies’ plates and was just as ho-hum as the rest. Everyone seemed to agree that a simple shrug of the shoulders would suffice to explain the experience. This would have been fine if the average cost per entree hadn’t been $24.
While there were some hits and some misses, the evening ended on a great note with homemade peanut butter cookies delivered to the table with the love and affection that the rest of the food had been. The food may have not been as wonderful as we all had made it out to be in our heads but Joey noted that at least it was better than anything you would ever be served across the street at Chianti Grill.
14351 Nicollet Ct
Burnsville, MN 55306-4574
See all the pictures from Chateau Lamothe on Flickr here.