I Am Quite “FOND” Of This New Fondue Haus in Downtown Boca
By: Denise Righetti
Courtesy of: Savour Our City
Downtown Boca has a plethora of International cuisines from American, Italian & French to Asian, Middle Eastern and Indian – and now Swiss can be added to the mix. After 19 long months of arduous renovations, the spot formerly known as Ovenella (Federal & 5th) finally completed their transformation into a beautiful Swiss Chalet and opened to the public on Tuesday Oct 20th. I was amongst several local food bloggers to attend a special media dinner at The Little Chalet, organized by the restaurant’s PR Agency, the Gab Group.
The evening began with introducing the restaurant’s management team and giving us some background info on the company and its long standing origins from Brazil. We found out that we were sitting in their flagship US location, right here in Boca Raton.
The Little Chalet was born from a spark of love and passion and this love and passion is reflected in every detail you will find on your visit there. From delectable European style dishes and innovative fondues to impeccable service and a warm friendly staff. The Little Chalet has a truly unique dining experience to share.
First opened in Brazil in 1979 by Antonio Agusto Marcellini, “Chalezinho” began as a quaint & charming boutique shop before turning quickly into the exceptional Prime Steak & Fondue Haus it has become today. Passed down from father to sons, the Little Chalet’s family has grown with new additions, while today each sharing the family’s same values and heartfelt approach as Antonio once did.
The Little Chalet believes in striving for perfection in everything they do. They offer a well – rounded menu of classical American steakhouse items along with the European – inspired entrées. Widely known for their gourmet fondues, the Little Chalet offers a variety of mouthwatering options allowing guests to savor the diverse flavors of Europe. Fondues are available as appetizers or as full meals and come with accompaniment options like filet mignon, chicken, pork, white truffle Noisette potatoes & vegetables. Cheese fondues are made with cheeses such a Emmental, Grand Cru, Parmesan and Blue, while wine fondues are made with a red wine and a homemade beef broth, creating a bourguignon – style sauce. You can satisfy your sugar cravings with a number of sinfully decadent Lindt chocolate creations.
Before I begin to share with you my dining experience, let me first begin by sharing with you my first impression of the place. The ambience is just transforming. You certainly will feel that you have left South Florida upon entering this beautiful chalet. You could easily feel you were sitting in an actual Swiss chalet or a quaint cabin in the mountains somewhere up north. The Little Chalet is a charmingly cozy environment with homey and whimsical decor details adorning every nook and cranny. Amidst the dimly lit red walls, cobblestone floors and fireplace, decorations such as birdcages, flowerpots, mini snowy cottages and bird figurines adorn the interior.
The Little Chalet prides itself on creating an unsurpassed welcoming environment, offering guests an exceptionally warm, intimate and cozy dining experience. Heartfelt hospitality and service with a loving touch turns guests into true family. This value, preserved over years of memorable special dinners began long ago and remains at the core of the Little Chalet’s passionate journey. I sensed that the moment I entered the doors and was welcomed very warmly by two cheerful young ladies.
The Little Chalet offers indoor and glass – enclosed terrace dining, along with indoor and outdoor bars, making for a total of 161 available seats. There are a variety of charming intimate alcoves found throughout the place where guests can choose which one to dine in, each with their own special unique design details.
Our multi course tasting on this evening began with three delicious appetizers: Black Truffle Burrata, Original Swiss Raclette and a Blue Cheese Wedge Salad. Let me elaborate on each of these. The Black Truffle Burrata was absolutely delicious. Not just a hint of truffle oil but shavings of actual black truffles permeated throughout this ball of creamy deliciousness. For me, it was love at first bite! If you’ve never tried burrata before, this is the place you will want to come for your first; if you are a regular burrata Connessiour like moi, than this is the one to set all standards to.
The Original Swiss Raclette consisted of potatoes, pearl onions, cornichons & sausage covered with a blanket of bubbling golden brown Raclette cheese. The word “raclette” comes from the French word “to scrape.” Raclette makes up a simple meal that was enjoyed by shepherds in the fields. They would boil up some potatoes, and heat a stone and melt a bit of the raclette cheese on the hot stone. Once melted, the cheese was scraped off and served on top of the potatoes. Nowadays, raclette is cooked in special raclette pans instead of on hot rocks.
The Blue cheese wedge salad was chock full of fresh Blue cheese crumbles, bacon, crispy onion strings & topped with a generous pouring of creamy Blue cheese dressing.
Our next course was a cheese fondue with four different cheeses: Creme de la Creme, Quattro Formaggi, Swiss Alps Original & Wild Mushrooms. For our dipping accompaniments: cubes of French bread and walnut & cranraisin bread, veggies & sausage. Of course all of the cheeses were velvety creamy and delicious but I think my favorite happened to be the Wild Mushroom one. I loved the cranraisin & walnut bread too.
For our entrées, we were treated to The Royal Chalet (their house combination of USDA prime filet mignon, pork tenderloin and seasoned chicken breast). This entree comes with a delicious basket of freshly made garlic bread and eight of their famous house made from scratch sauces: mushroom, mustard, spicy pineapple, garlic, blue cheese, au poivre chimichurri and horseradish cream. The fondue entrées are braised in their signature red wine consommé which creates an unparalleled and unique flavor.
The Chalet Swiss Filet is a prime fillet mignon filled with prosciutto and Catupiry cheese, beef bechamel and accompanied by potato roesti. The almond crusted Seabass was one of my favorite dishes of the evening. Served with honey – glazed apple and Blue cheese au gratin potatoes.
The Honey glazed salmon is a fresh wild salmon served with a sweet honey glaze over a bed of roasted fennel. The salmon was seasoned & cooked perfectly and tasted delicious. In addition to the potato roesti, our other accompaniments were white truffle cream spinach and fennel infused cream corn. Anything with truffle in it is a winner in my book, so there’s no surprise that I enjoyed the spinach. The corn was unique. I could have sworn the herb I detected in this dish was rosemary & it wasn’t until the writing of this post and in reviewing the menu, did I discover it was fennel. Well, I’ll be…There also was a distinct flavor of bacon in there as well, which I happened to like, but it may be a bit too much for some people’s tastes.
For dessert we were treated to four different types of chocolate fondues with some wonderful accompaniments. The chocolates were as follows: Lindt Milk Chocolate, Dulce de Leche, Chocolate S’mores, & Lindt White Chocolate with Almonds. The S’mores had the potential of being my favorite because I just love everything about S’mores but unfortunately there was a slight technical error on execution of this fondue on this evening. It came to the table slightly below the optimal temperature and never did quite catch up to the others. But that didn’t stop those around me, myself included, from dipping in.
Another big hit with the crowd was the Dolce de Leche. I found the brownie bites dunked in this one to be irresistible. The Little Chalet is the perfect place for couples on a romantic date, a bunch of friends getting together or for special family occasions.
The Little Chalet is located at 485 S. Federal Highway in Boca Raton. They are open Monday through Saturday from 5:30 PM to 11 PM and offer happy hour Monday through Friday from 530 to 7 PM. for more information visit them on the web at www.thelittlechalet.com or call 561-325-8000.
Until we eat again…
I send you delicious wishes, XO