I love Chez Sophie to an extent that my heart dropped when I passed-by a few times and saw that it was closed... I asked around and found out that they were renovating the place and needed a month to complete.
The month passed-by slowly until they finally opened again. I was eager to find out what they changed and was hoping that my conception of the place still remains high. Sophie is back with more surprises. She took a month to renovate the place as well as get married. The new Chez Sophie welcomes you with a new decoration, a new menu and specially a new section with its unique items. The door has moved to the back of the restaurant allowing room for more tables in the main area and creating a smokers terrace. Everything is still the same specially the tables and the pleasant lighting. What used to be the bar is now transformed into a lounge/bar area with a trendy touch for a younger generation looking for a quick bite at more reasonable prices, "Atelier a la Francaise style". Pictures of the new menu are available in the photo-gallery: - Salads (Burrata, Salmon avocado...) - Platters and Sandwiches (Charcuterie platter, club sandwich, mini burgers...) - Main courses (Penne, Cheese ravioli, fish and chips...) - Mini bites (Mini kebbe, frof legs, crunchy mini birds, shrimps...)
Nos Entrees, Nos Poissons, Nos Viandes, i nostri primi piatti, Nos Desserts. A star next to some prices indicate the items available for lunch. Yes, Sophie now opens for lunch proposing an affordable menu for only $45 per person.
My favorite wonders:
- The relaxing classical musical background. - The professional handsome and gentle waiters with their black pants, white shirt, suspenders and bow tie. They are all very well dressed with a smile that never leaves their faces. - The silver cutlery that is special but still light to carry and pleasant to handle.
Service is an art we miss in other restaurants in town:
- Sommelier knows when to put wine in Carafe as well as when to serve in a bottle and what size of glass to use. - Every time someone leaves the table for a smoke or to visit the rest rooms, his table cloth is changed in the most professional way. The waiter grabs the cloth with a fork and spoon, which he uses as a peg to change the new colored towel gently next to his plate. - Women are served first followed by elder guests then men. - Serving on the right side is a must. - Pouring wine is an art you don't even feel. Calmly whenever it's needed.
Today's Sophie suggestions:
- Grilled calamari salad with carrot and cumin sauce. - Rissotto with black truffle. - Ravioli seafood with bisque de homard.
The offered Amuse bouche:
VeloutéAsperge: served cold with a stick of flavored toasted bread in a unique rounded plate. Crunchy soft and fresh is what describes one of the tastiest olive bread I've ever had in Lebanon.
We ordered and fell in love with:
- Salmon tartare, beetroot and green apple carpaccio with gorgonzola foam. - Grilled calamari with crunchy crash fennel and a yellow carrot sauce - Seafood and saffron risotto paella style. - Braised beef, potato mousseline infused with truffle oil and rosemary. Delicious, Sumptuous, Extraordinary: The freshness of the ingredients and the mix of tastes is what Sophie masters to perfection. The exact and needed amount of herbs, salt, pepper and condiments unlocking all your taste buds. During dinner, the nine of us didn't stop looking at each other to make sure we are all feeling the same. Our heads were moving in a synchronized way like we all wanted to show an over appreciation of this magnificent feast. The food was really out of this world. My favorite place in town is more than ever on the top of every list. Bravo Sophie!
Desserts are even better than the main meal:
- Chocolate indulgence with cointreau is a must try, specially the flaming show that comes with it. - Pistachio cream layers with black chocolate ice cream - Fresnch meringue with rasberry coulis - Roasted pineapples infused with honey and rosemary. Vanilla blanc manger, pineapple sorbet. - Lemon macaron with Limoncello sorbet. - Red fruits salad with chocolate chantilly infused ginger.
The small details that count: - Bonsai tree in the middle of the rounded tables covered with clean white cloth - High ceiling vaults with large black chandeliers dangling down, dramatically beautiful
Would see Changing:
- Tomato risotto was the least I liked. Something's missing in its combination. - A darker color and harder chocolate ice-cream served with the Mille Feuille. Lebanese people, please enough rumors and enough bad publicity: Chez Sophie is still welcoming its customers for lunch and dinner and be sure that Chez Sophie is still the best. And don't say its too expensive. Of course it is... Every cent paid is well deserved at Chez Sophie.