Cuisine at Le Chateau

By Clay Riness

Tim and Eva Ewers recently celebrated their fifth year as owners and operators of Le Chateau, La Crosse’s elegant French restaurant located in the historic Mons Anderson house at 410 Cass Street. The two of them have an accumulated 25 years of experience in the culinary arts internationally, he as a talented chef and she as a trained sommelier, among other things.

My wife and I were privileged to be invited to dine at Le Chateau recently, an experience we won’t soon forget. Tim’s passion was immediately apparent. “You’ll find a good many great restaurants here,” he said. “What makes us different is that we’ve lived it, breathed it, tasted it. Also, we like to ask some questions when reservations are made, about the nature of the party and what they might be celebrating, or what foods might need to be avoided. When people arrive, we really know how to make their experience just right for them.”

He’s also passionate about French cuisine. “In my view, France is where food became an art form rather than just being for consumption,” he added.

In July, after the restoration of the basement level of the Anderson house, Le Chateau opened La Cave to the general public, a lovely cocktail lounge with a separate and small food menu. The space will also be used for workshops and tastings.

Our experience began with a greeting by helpful and professional staff, which was good since we had little knowledge of French cuisine and customs. It became immediately clear that the pace of the meal was to be unhurried and relaxing. There was time to take in the stunning woodwork and elegant interior design. In a word, it’s beautiful.

We were first served a complimentary amuse-bouche (translated as “amusing first bite”) of tomato jelly with pickled cucumber and croutons. At just a bite or two, it’s something to wake up the palette before the first course, which it most certainly did. We then enjoyed a glass of French chardonnay, the perfect complement to freshly baked bread and a couple of seafood appetizers: escargot with garlic and parsley butter and steamed little neck clams in brown butter, shallots, fresh herbs and tomatoes. Both were beyond delicious.

My main course was a frenched pork loin with roasted garlic and pepper-crusted, truffle-whipped potato. Tender enough to melt in my mouth, the flavors were so perfect together that it encouraged me to slow my pace so I could savor each and every nibble.

My wife ordered the seared lemon fish (halibut) over saffron risotto and quickly said, “Wait until you try this fish; it’s amazing.” Of course, I was eager to have a taste (including the risotto), and I have to say, it might be the best fish I’ve ever eaten. Flawless.

Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, we found ourselves staring at two remarkable desserts to share. I knew we were in for something extraordinary when I ordered the lemon curd cream layered with almond biscuits, and our server shut her eyes and simply said, “Oh yeah, great choice.” It was. We also ordered the vanilla bean crème brulée and marveled at how light it was. Both desserts were an impeccable finish to a dining experience that will stand the test of time. Speaking for myself and my wife, four thumbs-up.

For an elegant and relaxing French dining experience, be sure to visit Le Chateau at 410 Cass Street in La Crosse. Check out the website at lechateaulacrosse.com, call (608) 782-6498, or email dine@lechateaulacrosse.com for more information and to make reservations.