Chez Pierre - All Decked Out

I'm very excited to be writing this post, as Chez Pierre holds a very special place in my heart in terms of my Tallahassee memories. Chez was the first place in town that I got invited to have some after work drinks with my co-workers, and I will always think of Chez as the place where I started to make real friends in this town. Every time I step onto their grand outdoor deck, I know I'm going to have a good time!

Chez Pierre, although it bills itself as a French nouveau type of restaurant, is the closest thing I've found to southern comfort. When you walk up to the joint, it feels like you're going to visit a friend's house. You walk through a lovely outdoor garden area, and directly onto their sweeping deck surrounded by live oaks. I have to admit, I've only eaten inside Chez Pierre once, and the experience did not live up to all of the times I've eaten outside on the deck. I think it's just the fresh air, the views of the sunset and the live music that makes being outside on the deck an infinitely more special experience. The best thing about the deck is that it's climate controlled - they've got space heaters in the winter, mister fans in the summer and plastic roll-down screens that they use when it rains. So no matter the weather, you'll always be comfortable.

My favorite thing to do at Chez is order up a drink or two. They have a very nice wine list (which you would expect of a French restaurant), and their cocktails are always superb, while not being overpriced. In fact, I think they make one of the best Mojitos in town. On this night, I ordered up a glass of sweet Riesling and hubby ordered a Blue Moon. On a nice spring evening, there's nothing better than a few drinks enjoyed out on the back deck.

As we perused the menu this evening, we noticed that a lot of our favorite items were nowhere to be found. After asking the waiter, we were informed that they changed things up for spring and completely refreshed their menu. Perhaps a little too much for my taste - they used to offer a killer chip and dip appetizer with salsa and guac, a great BBQ burger with crispy onion straws and a delectable salad with candied pecans, blue cheese and a raspberry vinaigrette. But alas, they were all gone. After a bit of pouting on my part, we decided to make the best of the situation and try a few new things.

After some recommendations from our waiter, I ordered the Grouper Bienville. It was a deliciously grilled piece of grouper, served with a cajun cream sauce that included some sweet crab meat. And it came with a generous side of grilled asparagus, expertly seasoned. Now, before you get the wrong idea, the sauce was not really all that spicy at all. It was more of a light creme sauce. In my opinion, if you're going to call something "cajun" it should come with a slight kick. And although they could have pumped up the heat, I don't think the dish was any worse for the wear without it. The fish was moist and flaky, the crab added a nice sweet yet salty accompaniment, and the asparagus were crispy and savory. All in all, it was a very satisfying dish.

Hubby decided to go for the new burger creation on the menu, their Rustic Burger. And while all burgers are served with fries, hubby did the respectable thing and upgraded to the sweet potato fries. The burger was a nice hunk of angus beef, topped with fresh basil, brie, oven dried tomatoes and a white truffle oil. Mmm....fancy! I asked to try a bite and I must say that it was very mouthwatering. But in my book, you could put truffle oil on anything and it would be mouthwatering. There's just something about truffle oil that takes the taste of any dish to the next level. The brie was gushy and ooey-gooey good, and the oven dried tomatoes provided a nice tangy texture. While I still miss their BBQ burger, the Rustic Burger isn't a bad replacement. Not bad at all. Ooooh - and lest we not forget the sweet potato fries. In my book, these are the best sweet potato fries in town. Crispy, covered in thick flecks of sea salt (there's that sea salt again!) and served with a side of maple dijon that is so tart and tangy sweet that you won't be able to keep those fries out of it! Sometimes I even have to ask for ANOTHER side of the maple dijon, because.....yes.....that's right....I have no shame.

So the next beautiful evening you find yourself thinking about dinner and drinks, make a stop over at Chez Pierre. But make sure to sit outside on the deck. I promise you'll feel like you're visiting old friends.

Tally Foodie Rating:
Atmosphere - A
Taste - B+
Presentation - B
Service - B (can be hit or miss)
Price - $$

Restaurant Info:
Chez Pierre
1215 Thomasville Road
Tallahassee FL 32303

Chez Pierre Restaurant & Banquet on Urbanspoon

Jonah's - Everyday is Fried-day

One lovely Saturday afternoon, a girlfriend and I decided to make the trip up to Thomasville to do a little shopping and have a little lunch. I'd been hearing a lot of good things about Jonah's, the eatery located right next to Liam's (one of my all time favorite restaurants in the area), so we decided to make that our midday stop. After wearing ourselves out buying a few trinkets and truffles, we put our name on the list at noon and were told we'd have to wait about 20 minutes. At that point, we were both ready for a few mimosas! But just as we got seated and took a gander at the menu we realized - dun, Dun, DUNNN - they don't serve alcohol!!! I guess with a biblical name like Jonah's and biblical illustrations gracing the walls, we should have known better. But hey, Jesus turned water into wine, didn't he?

Okay, I don't want this to devolve into a religious discussion, because after politics, it's the least PC topic of conversation, but I just want you guys to know that if you go there expecting a nice afternoon or evening cocktail - you'll be sorely disappointed. Jonah's does, however, bill themselves as a family-friendly, alcohol-free restaurant that represents the owner's faith. So there you have it.

It's a casual, cozy little place with probably about 15 or so tables and a menu that hinges on - what else? - seafood. I mean, cause, you know, Jonah and the whale. Get it? So after frowning and ordering a Coke and a Sweet Tea, we started perusing the dishes and we noticed one startling similarity between most of their offerings. Almost everything seems to be dipped in a seasoned cornmeal batter and deep fried in peanut oil. Literally. Almost everything. Unless you get the Grilled Chicken Salad or something. But, when you can't have alcohol, you've got to feel guilty about something else, right? So, fried food it was.

My friend ordered the Farm Raised Catfish and I ordered the Cyclone Shrimp. And let me tell you - there is something about that cornmeal batter that is simply magic! It's a blend of seasonings, and the crunchy tiny-ball-like texture of the cornmeal batter, which is light and just a bit sweet. Her catfish was served with their signature spicy tartar sauce, which was tangy, tart and spicy all at the same time. And mine was covered in a spicy citrus aioli that tasted very similar to the sauce used on the Bang Bang Shrimp at Bonefish (which I absolutely LOVE). It was zesty and zippy and a touch sweet. I was literally popping them like my life depended on it!

Now, let's talk about the side dishes. Can you see those big flecks of sea salt on those fries? Those are pieces of sheer bliss. I love a good thick sea salt on my french fries. Yeah, they scrape the coating off my tongue and the roof of my mouth, but that's a small price to pay for sublimeness. But the hush puppies, I wasn't so over-the-moon about. I like hush puppies just like I like my crabcakes - WITHOUT filler. Just the breading. I'm not even sure what these had in them - all I know is that I took a bite, saw something green and didn't touch it again. Tsk, tsk, tsk (*clicking her tongue*). But other than that, I was hooked. Get it? Hooked. Cause of the fish...and the whale...and the....oh, okay, I'll stop.

By the way - thanks to all my readers who emailed and wondered if everything has been okay with me. I've just been out of town on business a while and haven't had much time for blogging between the 10-12 hour days. Yes, that's right. It was "the man" keeping me down again. Doesn't he know I have food to eat and restaurants to write about??!!!

Tally Foodie Rating:
Atmosphere - B - (I'm docking them a bit for the lack of alcohol)
Taste - A
Presentation - B
Service - A
Price - $$

Restaurant Info:
109 East Jackson Street
Thomasville GA 31792

Jonah's on Urbanspoon

About this blog

This blog is dedicated to giving you honest reviews of local restaurants in Tallahassee and the surrounding area. I won't hold any punches, you'll hear about it all - the good, the bad and the (hopefully infrequent) inedible!

This blog was written from July 2009 - August 2010 and is now retired. I currently live in Sarasota, FL...stay tuned for more on my adventures there!