EAT: Chanterelle, WA
The building at 316 Main Street in Edmonds has quite the history. Back in the late 1800’s it was home to the city’s first hardware store. In the years that followed, it became a furniture exchange, then a sewing factory. It’s biggest transformation, however, came in 1986 with the opening of Chanterelle, one of Edmond’s longest operating restaurants. Its history has not only played a role in that success, but led the current owners to do what they were certain they would never do, own a restaurant.
After some pretty persistent nudging, Randy and Brooke Baker’s friend Charlie got them to walk through the doors of Chanterelle in 1997. Once they did they were sold …
“[Charlie] was like, I have the perfect place for you guys, I can totally see you there. And we were like no thank you. He wouldn’t let up though . Finally we were like, okay lets go see this place so Charlie will stop bugging us and one foot in the door, seeing the building and the town, we both knew it was meant to be and that this is what we wanted to do” – Brooke
In the years since the pair have been a constant fixture at the restaurant. From seating and checking on guests, to walking the floors of the kitchen and dining room, they are always present and keeping an eye on their baby. So much so, that when one or both of them happens to be gone, their regulars take notice. It is something that keeps them coming back for more, and that keeps Chanterelle’s sales growing year after year. That is not something that is easy to do in the restaurant business.
That isn’t the only thing that keeps regulars coming back though. Chanterelle’s menu deserves more than a bit of the credit as well. It contains an eclectic and evolving collection of dishes, one that is best described as “New American.” What exactly does that mean?
“It is globally influenced food. We have Mexican, French, Asian, a little bit of everything. If you hear American you think burgers and fries, and we have neither. You can’t really say we are just American cuisine.
It [is cuisine that has] evolved over the years. We keep tweaking and changing a little bit at a time. There are recipes that have been here from the beginning, before we bought the restaurant, and new ones. We keep evolving the menu, you have to. Every month we do a different dinner special sheet, so there is always 4-5 entrees for dinner that pop up. The core menu changes once or twice a year, a few items.” – Brooke
The most prominent dish on the menu has to be the Tomato Bisque. If you haven’t heard of it, then you’ve probably been living under a rock. It is famous, not just in Edmonds and Snohomish County, but as far away as Europe as well. Its long standing reputation is one that Randy and Brooke quickly recognized, taking it from a just a side to the main attraction it was destined to be.
I for one am not a tomato soup fan. You won’t catch me eating it, ever, but after hearing of its fame, I had to at least give it a spoon full of a try. I had intended to anyway, but found myself unable to stop once I had one. If you catch me eating something I notoriously dislike and loving it, then you know it t truly is a must try. That alone makes it famous in my book.
Beyond the bisque, Chanterelle’s other dishes are equally deserving of your time. It is the only restaurant in Snohomish County in which I have not only tried, but enjoyed, every single meal. The bacon served with breakfast is the biggest and best tasting you will find. The sandwiches, particularly the adult grilled cheese, are fresh and tasty from the bread to the fixings. The dinner entrees, don’t even get be started. Besides, I think you get the idea, everything is perfect.
The desserts, however, are deserving of special attention. Made by local bakers, the regular staples and seasonal features are delicious. They are so good that I’ve never said no to adding one to a meal while there, and I certainly couldn’t pick a favorite. The marionberry pie has introduced me to a new favorite fruit, the vanilla salted caramel crunch cake is heavenly, and the bread pudding with white chocolate bourbon sauce… again, don’t get me started.
Enough about the food, getting hungry just thinking about it all. There is more to Chanterelle than just food. The history is appealing, the presentation and atmosphere is simple yet elegant, a place you can feel comfortable eating casually or having a date night, and the staff is attentive and always ready with recommendations. I can tell they love the food just as much as everyone else does.
Also worth mentioning is the local sourcing found behind the bar. I’m a big promoter of local restaurants using local spirits, beer, and wine, so I was so happy to find that Chanterelle does.
“we have five taps behind the bar, they are all northwest breweries. our cocktails feature Scratch Distillery down the road and Skip Rock Distillers from Snohomish. We do a local lavender sangria with northwest rosé, locally sourced lavender simple syrup, lavender sugar rim. In the bar, we are very conscious of locally sourcing.” – Brooke
I was so excited about the lavender Sangria that I had to give it a try. If you caught last month’s issue, then you saw my own rosé based sangria. Like mine, Chanterelle’s is sweet and fruity. The lavender was an interesting twist and I will definitely be ordering it again. Like the tomato bisque, it is a must try. Well, everything on the menu is, but these two items definitely stand out more than the others. Stop by, give them a try, and come back time and time again. I do, and that says a lot. With my job it is always on to the next, I don’t get to make return trips often, and when I do, it is something special.