Almost directly across the street from Pinetop-Lakeside Town Hall on White Mountain Boulevard you’ll find the Chalet Restaurant and Bar. This one-story building sits just back from the road with ample parking in front and along the side.
Inside you’ll find a well-appointed dining room with a cozy bar area to the right. The dining room exudes a warm atmosphere with a beach mural along one wall and nautical decorations throughout.
Comfortable booths line the walls and the rest of the dining area is broken up by unobtrusive dividers, adding intimacy to the dining tables.
After ordering a favorite libation from the full bar, it was time to peruse the menu. At the first glance of the appetizers, you’ll see how this restaurant distinguishes itself from the other fine eateries dotting the mountaintop.
Alongside standards such as fried zucchini and shrimp cocktail, you’ll find memorable selections like escargot, tempura artichoke hearts and my selection this evening, duck tenders. A riff on chicken tenders, found almost everywhere else, the duck tenders are fried crispy and doused in a lightly spicy, sweet-and-sour sauce and are delicious. A blueberry dipping sauce accompanies.
House specialties on the menu feature country-fried steak, baby-back ribs (full and half racks), and rib-eye or filet mignon steaks. You can also build your own combo platter of two or three items from fried or coconut shrimp, half rack of ribs or a chef-selected steak. All entrees are served with your choice of potato, rice, onion rings or sautéed veggies plus soup or salad accompanied by a warm loaf of bread.
The menu further offers nearly a dozen selections from the sea, with three ways to enjoy shrimp: tempura, coconut fried or Florentine served over pasta.
Lobster tail is also featured along with two sizes of Norwegian salmon filet and, not found in very many restaurants these days, sea scallops. Here the Chalet presents this dish in a regency sauce. This classic sauce imbued with brandy and mushrooms is delightful on these mildly flavored sea scallops. For a lighter seafaring appetite, a seafood salad is offered with your choice of grilled shrimp, salmon or seared ahi tuna.
An early bird menu is available until 6:30 p.m. featuring smaller portions of dinner menu dishes like salmon and tempura fried shrimp, ribs, fish & chips, a chicken dish and the always divisive, calf’s liver and onions.
Offered on this limited menu is country-fried steak, a favorite I frequently can’t turn down. After being assured by the server that this is a scaled-down serving from the main menu, I was still served a gut-busting portion, though that’s not necessarily a bad thing!
The presentation, however, was a bit unfortunate. The steak was placed on the plate in two curled-up pieces rather than lying flat. This didn’t affect the taste but wasn’t very attractive. I was also surprised to discover the dish was served with sausage gravy rather than the usual cream gravy. Not bad, just different.
A standout on the early menu, served to the Unknown Date, was the tempura shrimp. Three extra-large shrimp inside delicately fried tempura batter were tender and flavorful. Served beside a medley of sautéed broccoli florets, zucchini and carrot slices along with a loaf of warm bread, this made a fulfilling meal.
After your meal, you’ll be tempted by the dessert tray your server will present. On this visit, I decided on a warm, spongy rum cake topped with fresh whipped cream, a delightful ending to the meal.
And, brought back by popular demand after a short hiatus, the sushi menu is back in full force offering sushi, nigiri and maki rolls so get back to practicing your chopstick skills!
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