La Chatelaine (Facebook / @LaChatColumbus)
627 High St. (map it!)
Worthington, OH 43085
Open Mon-Sat, 7a-9p; Sun, 8a-7p
Accepts cash & credit/debit
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/N/N
Date of Visit: Saturday, October 13, 2012 at 9:00 a.m.
La Chatelaine is one of those restaurants that is easy to look over. It’s been around for some time so maybe it doesn’t seem flashy and new like other restaurants, and it tends to blend into the landscape of Columbus eateries. But their three locations – and in this case, specifically, their Worthington store – offer some unique dishes, a warm sense of hospitality, and they hold the corner of the market on popular French cuisine in Columbus.
Expect to be greeted in person or over the phone with a hearty “Bonjour!” Much of what they do seems focused recreating the experience of visiting a rustic French cottage. The decorations include lots of wood, stonework on the walls, wooden beams across the ceiling, tall-backed chairs, copper accents. There’s even a fireplace in one room, as if you’re crowding around the kitchen table with the family. And if you’ve ever had the chance to meet owners Stan and Gigi Wielezynski or any of their four children, you know that’s generally the intention.
La Chatelaine is set up cafeteria style: you find your way to the beginning of the line, load up with a tray and silverware…
…and then you move past rows of pastries…
…and baked breakfasts like quiches, croque monsieur, cocottes…
…and yogurt, and fruit, and drinks…
…and desserts. It’s a smart model, when you really think of it. Just when you’re hungry and lining up for a meal, you pass by shelves of eye candy.
Once you get to the end of the line, you pay, take a number, and find a seat. Made-to-order dishes are brought out to your table, while you simply load up side items on your tray. While we visited on a busy Saturday morning, the line moved pretty quickly and the food came out fast.
We ordered the simple breakfast special: eggs, potatoes, bacon, bread, and a drink. All of it was good. Nothing mind-blowing, but good: eggs and bacon were well done, the potatoes well seasoned.
We also picked up a side of beignets, which were fluffy and sweet, maybe a little dry, but not at all greasy.
We also tried the special of the Oktoberfest French toast. This was probably one of the richest, sweetest French toasts I’ve ever had. The bread slices were thin and custardy, plus it was served with a scoop of a fruit custard, dusted with powdered sugar and dolloped (is that a verb?) with whipped cream. One of the gimmicks of the meal was a marshmallow beer stein: a big marshmallow covered with white chocolate and with a Cheerio as a handle.
We also ordered an omelet to go. This is the Parisienne. Again, very good although not amazingly spectacular.
Every time I’ve been to La Chatelaine – and I’ve just been to their Worthington and Lane Avenue locations – I’ve had good experiences. They serve a solid breakfast, and not many places offer the beautiful dishes like the cocotte (baked in little dishes and with carved vegetables on top) or the layered quiches. And you can’t argue with the shelves of fresh pastries, a cup of hot coffee, or any of their range of teas. In addition to the cozy interiors, each location has some outdoor seating, and Worthington’s is arguably the best. Their big patio is is a prime spot, especially on Saturdays when the Worthington Farmers Market is in full swing.