|French fries at The Delachaise.|
To me Delachaise is a bar, although one that serves excellent french fries. The long, narrow space which widens as it progresses further away from St. Charles streetcar tracks reminds me of a wine bar on Isle St. Louis or in the Marais. The decor is raffish - stools and benches with unsecured cushions, plywood underneath the bar, and stacks of wine crates impeding traffic to the restroom. On the wall behind the bar are chalkboards listing every food and drink offering, while Christmas lights illuminate the rest of the room. It's charm is in its imperfections.
|The Boz sandwich.|
Even though the Delachaise is a bar, you can still eat dinner here, and I almost always do. The most daunting task between you and dinner may be securing a table when it's crowded, and it almost always is, as I learned on a recent Wednesday night. The best strategy is to divide and conquer. Dispatch one or two members of your party to the bar to secure a bottle of wine and glasses while the rest scope out the lay of the land and try to figure out where to sit. Once you have secured seating, head back to the bar to order food. After taking your order, the bartender will ask where you are sitting, you will point to a general area, he will nod his head in affirmation, and somehow your food always safely arrives at your table. I am always paranoid that instead of table numbers the servers employ colorful descriptions such as "guy in blue oxford who outkicked his coverage."
|Flank steak bruschetta.|
|Gnocchi with pork ragu.|
The bar has a very deep wine list, including 58 selections by the glass and $5 daily wine specials - 1 red, 1 white, and 1 sparkling. Unfortunately, none of the reds offered by the glass and very few of the reds sold by the bottle are temperature controlled. This is a personal crusade that I will continue. If you paid $55 for an entree, would you be mad if it was served luke warm? The same standard should apply to wine.
Service is usually a point of contention when discussing The Delachaise. I will admit that the manager/bartender with the French accent can be rather brusque and unpleasant, although I have not seen him express that attitude toward patrons who lack a Y chromosome. All of the other staff though have always been friendly, helpful, and accomodating. And after a rather snarky exchange at the bar one night, Frenchie and I shared gratutious words on the patio as he helped bus our table. Forgiveness is a virtue.
While rereading this post before publishing, I asked myself: "It seems that you could not say one good thing about Delachaise without mentioning an aspect which you did not care for." And that may be true. But the most important question is this: Do I enjoy myself while there? And when it comes to grabbing a glass of wine, a bite to eat, and maybe sitting outside when the weather is nice, Delachaise is one of my top choices in the city.
The Delachaise - Par/Birdie
3442 St. Charles Ave
Open Daily 5:00pm till