Trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, chef/owner Katherine Ewing serves exquisitely prepared Provençal cuisine with style.
I always get a bit giddy when I know I’m going to have dinner at Le Clos. The only French restaurant on Amelia Island, Le Clos serves delicious Provençal dishes by candlelight in a charming, intimate 1906 cottage. Their front porch and courtyard offer dining outside, as well, but I have a favorite table by the window that I prefer, so when I took my friend Bruce to Le Clos recently, that’s exactly where we sat.
Chef/Owner Katherine Ewing received full degrees in both cuisine and pastry from Le Cordon Bleu and L’Ecole de Gastronomie Francaise Ritz-Escoffier, Paris, and trained at The Ritz Hotel in Paris. Restaurant manager Julie Bundy is a skilled sommelier, and along with the impeccable staff at Le Clos, dining at the restaurant is always a wonderful experience.
I love to let Julie choose the wine for my menu choices because she’s the expert. For our first course, Bruce and I had Escargot, and Julie brought us each a glass of La Fleur dAmelie, a white Bordeaux from France. The half-dozen snails are baked in garlic butter with parsley, and served with a crusty baguette. They are presented in individual tiny pots—quite a nice appearance, and I love to use the bread to soak up all those wonderful juices.
For our entrees, I wanted to try the Pan Seared Diver Scallops. For Bruce, Julie highly recommended Bistro Steak Au Poivre. For our wines, I had a glass of Waiaru River Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, and Bruce, Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir, a California wine. Here is where Le Clos really shines. The scallops were perfectly cooked, with a nice sear on the outside. They are served with pasta, fresh herbs, and baby leaf spinach, and finished with a citrus buerre blanc and tomato concasse. My favorite part of French dining is the focus on sauces and the way they are prepared. This dish is one of my favorites. The steak was thinly sliced and served with an amazing mushroom sauce with roasted shallots, pomme frites, and delicately steamed julienned vegetables, zucchini and carrots. He and I sampled each other’s dishes and wines, but Bruce was eager to return to his steak dish and eat every bite.
For our dessert, Bruce and I decided to share a slice of Gateau Au Chocolat, a dense and delicious chocolate cake served with Crème Anglais, a rich and smooth custard sauce. Julie suggested we try a glass of red wine with our chocolate dish, and it was just right. Although I am often drawn to a sweeter dessert wine at the end of a meal, this lovely Cheval Noir from St. Emilion really brought out the flavor of the chocolate with every sip. Remarkable!
The menu items at Le Clos are prepared carefully and presented beautifully, with an emphasis on local seafood and the freshest ingredients they can offer. An eclectic wine list offers the perfect accompaniment for every menu selection. Le Clos’ cozy cottage with cheery flowering baskets make it hard to pass by the restaurant without stopping to check the menu and make a reservation. Le Clos hosts many private affairs, like rehearsal dinners and birthday parties, and it is suggested that diners make their holiday reservations early. For more information, call (904) 261-8100.