Brunch at a 19th Century Mansion: The Chloe

Seeing as I adore all of the restaurant concepts created by LeBlanc + Smith, it took longer than I had hoped for me to finally try The Chloe. The boutique hotel, restaurant, and bar, located in a 19th century St. Charles Avenue mansion, opened in October of 2020, but every time I tried to make reservations, it was completely booked! So, I decided to wait a bit for the dust to settle.

Just this past weekend, I was able to reserve a table for a very late brunch (or late lunch, if you prefer). I chose to sit inside because I knew it would be in the 90s and I had no wish to turn a lovely shade of purple and have sweat roll off of my face while trying to enjoy my food. The unbearable heat wasn’t the only thing to drive me indoors, I wanted to get a good look at this grand dame! I only wish I could’ve gotten a peek at one of the rooms. As much as I’d like to wax poetic about this glorious Victorian draped in dusky lavender and green, this trip was all about the food.

We were seated in a bright, sunroom overlooking the patio, and farther out, the busy pool. There was lots of activity at quaint, 14-room hotel with folks everywhere sipping icy cocktails under large umbrellas in defiance of the blazing afternoon sun. As fun as it all might have seemed to be out there with the summertime bustle, I was incredibly thankful to be sitting inside enjoying the very capable air conditioning.

I was getting hot just looking at the sun-worshipping, hopefully well-covered by high-SPF sunscreen revelers, so I ordered an iced coffee brewed from beans roasted by Hey! Café almost as soon as I sat down. After looking over the menu on my phone (why haven’t restaurants been doing this for ages?), we placed our order, leaning more towards the lunch-type items than breakfast. We both were anxious to once again enjoy dishes created by German-born Todd Pulsinelli, a local, fine dining chef who’s worked in kitchens like Restaurant August and Domenica, and most recently the now-defunct Warbucks, a Magazine Street restaurant where we had our first taste.

Always a sucker for anything with ravigote, I started my meal with The Chloe Salad. A delicate, bright green head of Bibb lettuce served as a bowl for poached shrimp with golden morsels of crab fat and, of course, a creamy ravigote dressing. It was a gorgeous presentation and the soft, buttery lettuce was the perfect vehicle for the tangy, ravigote-enrobed shrimp. John chose a smoked pork belly and shiso (an earthy herb in the mint family) appetizer, a familiar dish we’d enjoyed almost three years ago at Warbucks, served on leaves of Bibb lettuce and garnished with pickled onion and serrano pepper.

I gave in and carbed-out for my entreé, a Royal Red Shrimp Roll served with potato chips. At some point in my life, I’m going to have to take a trip up to Maine and wrap my lips around a lobster roll, but I can’t imagine it tasting much better than this. A soft, sweet (think Hawaiian bun sweet) hot dog bun was filled with a mayo and celery-laden, cold shrimp salad, and in all honesty, it felt like a kid’s portion, because I could have easily polished off two. But the house made potato chips somewhat made up for the lack with their salty, vinegary goodness. Even before I started keto, I’d never been one for plain potato chips, but I couldn’t stop shoving these in my mouth.

John got the chicken katsu sandwich, Pulsinelli’s interpretation of the Japanese sando, served with French fries. A thin chicken cutlet, panko breaded and fried, was pressed between two thin pieces of white bread with a bacon, onion and ranch marmalade, and sliced into “fingers.” Though it wasn’t like the fried chicken sando I tried from Sandoitchi, the Texas-based pop-up that rolled through town back in March, it was still an excellent sandwich.

Though I would’ve loved to try their Blueberry Galette for dessert, we had already planned to stop by the new Beard Papa cream puff bakery on the way home. Maybe next time?

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