*****Little Slice of France on the First Coast
”In the main dining room at Le Clos in Fernandina Beach, corks are popping and diners are laughing. In the smaller room, conversation bubbles like the sparkling wine being poured at one table. Combine classical French Provencal cookery and the seaside quaintness of Amelia Island, and you have the magic of Le Clos ("The Enclosure").
Owner/Chef Katherine Ewing's cozy restaurant is located in a restored bungalow near the city's yacht basin. Ewing holds degrees in pastry and cuisine from Cordon Bleu and the Ritz-Escofier in Paris, ensuring that the quality of the food equals the charm of the atmosphere.
From the pork and chicken liver pate finished with cream, cognac, and parsley to the chocolate gâteau with crème Anglaise, the offerings are uncompromisingly French. With each entree, Ewing's menu suggests appropriate accompanying wines (with lamb shanks, perhaps a hearty Burgundy; with the sea scallops, a sauvignon blanc).
Le Clos is petite and cozy. Diners are seated in either a smaller side room with four tables or the larger room with more than a dozen tables. Both rooms are tasteful and understated, with tangerine walls and white trim matching the snowy table linens. Candlelit tables add a dash of amoré, while background music includes scatterings of pop and jazz (Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald & B.B. King).
Desserts include crème brulée, our choice, a wedge of chocolate cake in a pool of the richest crème Anglaise, served with one fresh leaf of mint. Every morsel of the cake is nothing less than exquisite.
The garden at Le Clos
The smokehouse at Le Clos
*****Off The BeatenTrack - Amelia Island
(Wall Street Journal, Travel Editor Andrea Peterson)
"For terrific French fare, head to the intimate dining room at Le Clos. The menu features fresh fish dishes, a stellar steak au poivre and knock-out chocolate cake."
… Le Clos (20 South 2nd St., 261-8100) a French restaurant housed in a petite restored cottage on Second Street. A white picket fence and flowering vines creeping up to the rooftop set the stage outside. Inside, warm salmon-hued walls, flickering candlelight, and soft jazz tunes provide the backdrop for a poetic meal oozing with romance. The two small dining rooms buzz with happy conversation enhanced by a wine list highlighted by champagnes, and other sparkling wines. Patrons lean torward the older, well-heeled set but unpretentious attentive service makes any amorous couple feel at home. Tables are snugly spaced but the hearty buzz of diners and clicking of glasses makes it so the diners at the table next to yours cannot listen in on your conversation.
The menu at Le Clos is focused on classically-inspired Provencal fare. This is French comfort food at its best, expertly crafted by the restaurant’s French-trained chef and owner Katherine Ewing. Each delicious morsel of escargot arrives at the table swimming in its own bubbling pool of garlicky parsley butter that deserves to be sopped up with warm slices of chewy baguette. The succulent Colorado braised lamb shank is falling-off-the-bone tender and its savory broth surrounds a creamy pile of au gratin potatoes. Daily fish specials are local. If the flickering candlelight and impassioned dishes aren’t enough to incite l ‘amour, seal the deal with the gâteau au chocolate cake swimming in a pool of delicate crème Anglaise. It doesn’t get any sexier than that.
Fresh Herbs at the garden of Le Clos
Morning Glories at Le Clos