03/01/2012 07:17AM, Published by Style, Categories: In Print
Photo by Dante Fontana
This little French bistro, opened by Chef Daniel Pont (former owner/chef of the highly regarded La Bonne Soupe Café in Sacramento) seats just 30 (that’s a good thing!) and has been open for a few months now.
The food, ambience and service can all be summed up in a single word: sublime. After dining in so many local restaurants with TVs preventing discussion, my wife and I felt quite civilized here and looked forward to an evening of fine food and quality conversation. Yes, we were going to talk to one another; we never do this, so I brought notes.
Chez Daniel offers a prix fixe menu with approximately eight items to salivate over: pork, beef, duck, salmon, and prawns with scallops, to name a few. Dinner includes four courses – soup, salad, an entrée with a vegetable and starch, plus an array of desserts – and all are excellent. The wine list consists of a meticulously chosen group of French and California vintages. I believe a wine list is only as good as its least expensive offering, so we went with a bottle of Pere Patriarche Rouge, suggested by our server. It seems this particular wine is not that easy to find here in Folsom, but is one that the Pont family has been drinking for decades. Light, superb, and at $18 a bottle, it makes you feel like a five-year-old who’s getting away with something. I suggest you never order it; hence there will be more for me.
I asked my wife to speak about the first two courses. However, the soup – a creamy vegetable potage – elicited no words. I believe she looked up at one point, tried to say something, but simply went back to work. The lightly dressed salad was served shortly after and was superb in its simple nature. Again, her fork and elbow did the speaking. Soon after, our main courses arrived. For her it was the Beef Tenderloin, prepared exactly as requested, and the Scallops and Prawns for me – both accompanied by scalloped potatoes and fresh green beans. My fish was cooked to perfection, something I rarely encounter (as it’s easy to turn into rubber). With ideal sized portions and no fancy sauce-scribble on the plate, our entrées were truly exquisite. For dessert, we devoured the Crème Brule and a slice of cheesecake.
Being a prix fixe menu, all of our courses were included in the price (except the wine); even with a good tip we spent less than we did the week before at Olive Garden. And while we may not have talked a lot during dinner – it’s all we have been talking about since. Chez Daniel is open for dinner Monday-Friday; reservations are a must.