Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Lake Chalet Seafood Bar & Grill

It feels like every week I'm in another place, and something always gets in the way of blog posts. So after trips to Australia, Brazil, the UK and a semi-permanent move to Illinois, I'm finally getting around to blogging about a celebratory Sunday brunch in April. Yes, four months ago.

Given the new circumstances as well, there's likely to be a bunch more cooking rather than restaurant reviews appearing in the blog which is both good (hooray practical) and bad (less impressive food). Without further ado though, let's recap a fun meal at the Lake Chalet Seafood Bar & Grill in sunny Oakland, CA.

Firstly, what a location right by/on Lake Merritt. No photos unfortunately, but ask for a table by the window for full effect. When we arrived for our reservation, we were promptly seated in a quiet two person table along one side of the restaurant, and settled in with a glass of sparkling while we peruse the menu.

On to the food. As the name suggests, there's a focus on seafood dishes. There are also non-seafood options for those that prefer steak, pasta, burgers or chicken.

Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs
Before getting into the taste of these, can I just say I love the presentation. I'm not sure I've ever seen seaweed as a purely decorative accent and even though the deviled eggs had nothing to do with the sea, it was still a fun dish to have arrive at the table. The eggs themselves were nothing to rave about although I did like the 'pop' of the roe. A restaurant meal is about taste and presentation, so this comes dish out about even.

Local Rock Cod Ceviche Verde
The cerviche was a much more interesting starter. With green herbs, shaved radish & cucumber, avocado, jalapeno and a bucket load of lime, this definitely delivered a kick of flavour. Unfortunately, the textures clashed and the tortillas were a little dry, so this dish still wasn't a winner.

The mains were fortunately an improvement on the starters.

Organic Chicken with Spring Asparagus & Truffles
I love truffles, so that probably biases my judgement of this dish but luxury ingredients aside, I thought this was a good dish; the chicken was tender and slightly sweet, and the asparagus was crisp and fresh. A great interpretation of spring in my opinion. Such a pity that spring was so long ago, and autumn is slowly creeping up.

Pan Roasted King Salmon
The salmon with clams had both good and bad; the shellfish-based broth was well flavoured, with an enjoyable kick of curry chilli, but the salmon was unfortunately dry. Once again, it was a decent dish, but nothing spectacular.

Bread Pudding with Lemon Sorbet
To end on a sweet note, we shared a bread pudding with lemon sorbet; a mix of indulgence and refreshment and which was definitely satisfying. Something to replicate at home perhaps?

Overall we had an enjoyable meal; the atmosphere was lively with beautiful views, with great service, but the food was only average. Nothing great, and nothing terrible. So if you're just after a fun meal at a reasonable price without caring too much about top-tier dishes, then the Lake Chalet is a decent option.

Lake Chalet Seafood Bar & Grill
1520 Lakeside Dr, Oakland
Mon-Thu 11am-10pm, Fri 11am-11pm, Sat 10am-11pm, Sun 10am-10pm

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