Another Friday. Another opportunity to kick start the weekend with a great meal. This time at Chalkboard, a neighborhood eatery that I walk by often and have been meaning to try. Everything about Chalkboard is outrageously charming. It oozes the sort of warmth and coziness that makes you feel like you’ve been invited to someone’s house for a really great dinner.
The initial draw here was a special $50 tasting menu (five courses–mostly seafood, five wine pairings) but when our server walked us through the namesake chalkboard menu, we quickly abandoned those plans. There was too much that sounded too good not to try. I started the meal off with some housemade pâté with traditional condiments and a glass of a wonderfully crisp Spanish white wine. My friends got a salad and some really good dungeness crab cakes.
For an entree, I got a roast duck with plums. I would’ve preferred that my duck was cooked slightly more but the flavors were quite good. My friends got a halibut with citrus marmalade and house-cured bacon and a brined pork loin with mushroom hash. With all of the dishes, the proteins were sort of unremarkable and took a backseat to the accompaniments. But everything was well cooked and the flavor pairings were really interesting. We also ordered a side of the smoked gouda mac & cheese, which our server forgot to bring out with our entrees. It ended up being a good thing though because I got to enjoy it on its own. It was really delicious although not quite as good as the mac & cheese at Perennial. The portion was very generous and perhaps the best bargain at the restaurant.
We were pretty full by the end of all that but were determined to split a dessert. Boy am I glad we did. We got the chocolate chip cookie dough egg roll with chocolate ice cream and caramel sauce. Warm, chocolatey, and gooey, this was almost blackout good. Yowzers!
At the end of the meal, the owner came by to ask about our meal, which I thought was really nice. Service overall was very attentive (they were very apologetic about forgetting our mac & cheese) and though we took our sweet time hanging around and catching up no one seemed pushy about reclaiming our table. All in all, a really lovely meal. I’d love to go back and try their fried chicken (one of the dishes they’re known for). I would’ve gotten it last night but after last week’s fry-fest, I needed a break.