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Monday, June 17, 2013

EUROPE MEETS CARIBBEAN FRESHNESS AT CHALET SUISSE


Chalet Suisse, Aruba
Chalet Suisse
Eagle Beach, Aruba
 If you ask your friends for restaurant recommendations on Aruba, almost without fail you’ll hear the name Chalet Suisse.  We heard it at home, and we heard it from people at our hotel.  Chalet Suisse became a “must do” on the list.  After our evening there, we joined the chorus.  Our dinner at Chalet Suisse was one of the highlights of our evenings. 

If you check the reviews of Chalet Suisse, you must note that people return year after year.  That idea is important on two counts.  People who come to Aruba for the first time decide that this happy island is perfect for a return trip.  Many return trips.  For some of these yearly visitors are perpetual diners at Chalet Suisse.  That says a lot to me.

On one of Rob’s walks along the beach toward the low rise hotels at Eagle Beach, he passed Chalet Suisse.  Doesn’t it look inviting?  Yes; perhaps it seems out of place on a Caribbean island, but that is part of its particular allure.  Part of the romantic image.  The chefs are European trained, and the meat and fish, except for the locally caught fish, are flown in from the east coast of the United States.  Everything we tried was fresh, presented artfully, and made the evening an absolute joy.

We began with drinks and Escargot “Bourguignnone” prepared with garlic butter, shallots, herbs and just a touch of cognac.  The escargot was tender, and the butter sauce begged to be soaked up by bits of delicious breads.

We moved on to our entrées.

Here I was in a Swiss chalet, so I chose the Zuricher Geschnetzeltes.  If you can’t pronounce it, don’t worry.  But you might like to try this superb dish.  It is billed as a “typical Swiss dish made with slices of veal tenderloin in a fresh mushroom and Riesling sauce and served with homemade spaetzl.”  I loved it.  The sauce was tasty and the veal wonderfully tender.  I could not have asked for anything more.

Famous rack of lamb - Picture of Chalet Suisse, Aruba
This photo of Rack of Lamb is courtesy of TripAdvisor but it could have been Rob's rare lamb.



Chalet Suisse’s most recommended dish—at least from everyone we spoke to—is the Whole Roast Rack of Lamb delicately herb crusted and served with stuffed baked tomatoes.  That was Rob’s choice.  The artist in the chef emerged with this presentation of tiny, tender chops made purpley rare just as Rob asked.  They formed a circular pattern on his plate.  In the middle was a serving of piped mashed potatoes crisped along the edges, and an herb sprig rose from the center.  The stuffed baked tomatoes added lovely color.  I’d say it was almost too pretty to eat, but almost doesn’t count here.  Rob delighted in his dinner.

Chalet Suisse, Aruba
Our shared Banana Boat
Yes, it was a good as it looks
We gazed around the dining room as we ate, and we saw one gorgeous and very tempting dessert after another pass by our table.  Too tempting to resist.  With our coffee, Rob and I shared a Banana Boat for dessert.  This classic ice cream dessert of fresh bananas, vanilla ice cream, and chocolate sauce was a perfect final act to a beautiful and very delicious meal.

One thing is certain.  We will join the other people who return to Chalet Suisse each time they come to Aruba.

Chalet Suisse is just a short taxi ride from either the high rise hotels or Oranjestad, so make sure you put this on your must-do-dinner-here list!
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