Le Chef on Jobs Lane in Southampton has been one of our favorite restaurants for years. I remember going there to celebrate birthdays and other special occasions growing up. And now it has become a special place for Sean and me. We love to go have dinner at the bar and chat with the bartender and whoever else is there.
Three years ago on the anniversary of our first date Sean and I went to Race Lane in East Hampton, where we had had our first date six years earlier. He had planned to talk to my dad earlier in the week to ask for my hand in marriage, but unfortunately my dad was stuck in Washington D.C. and wasn’t getting home until later that night. We had a lovely meal at Race Lane, sitting at the bar watching a Yankee game. I vividly remember thinking to myself that this was all I needed in life. Little did I know that things were about to get even better. After dinner we headed back to Southampton, and Sean made up an a reasonable excuse to stop at my parents house. My dad finally arrived home and Sean was able to sneak a few minutes with both my parents to ask their permission. We still had another stop to make though, coincidentally my cousin had also gotten engaged that same week and they were celebrating at my aunt's house. This is when I started to notice Sean’s odd behavior, he never took off his jacket, and he was in a rush to leave the minute we got there. This was very unlike him, he is typically very social and usually I’m the one that wants to leave a party first. After leaving my aunt’s house Sean suggested we continue our anniversary celebration with dessert at Le Chef, I wasn’t terribly hungry but I can never refuse their delicious homemade gluten free cheesecake and Sean knew that. At this point Sean was speeding to get there, I remember telling him to slow down but he said he was just worried they were gonna close. So the drive that would normally take us two minutes took us about a minute and a half. We parked out front and began walking toward the front door, suddenly Sean stopped and got down on one knee. I was in complete shock, but I was also happier than I had ever been. It was an absolute perfect moment. After I recovered my shock we went into Le Chef where everyone at the bar had been watching us through the window. Our little Le Chef family were the first to congratulate us, popping open a bottle of champagne almost instantly. We were already regulars at the restaurant, but now that it was also our engagement spot it became even more special to us.
I was very excited when Sean told me he made a reservation at Le Chef for Valentine’s Day this year, and I was even more excited when he said he reserved two seats at the bar rather than a table. Sometimes we really prefer sitting at a table just the two of us, but I love the cozy bar, set in the front corner of the restaurant. I like that the bartender knows I’m allergic to gluten and always makes sure my food is safe. I like that when we sit down she gives me a club soda with a lime, and gives Sean a Stoli O and 7 up. And yes she does this because we’re regulars, but it’s also just that kind of place. They remember you even if you’ve only been there one time before, they make you feel like you’re their best customer. As a former Disney Castmember customer service goes a long way with me, but the thing about Le Chef is they have the food to back it up. Not only is their food delicious and fresh all the time, but they are also more than willing to adapt things for my allergy or for just a preference. Sean’s favorite dish, Chicken Cordon Blue, has been off the menu for about a year now yet they still always make it for him if he asks. They’ve made me GF Chicken Marsala, Chicken Francaise, Vegetable Risotto that is also no longer on the menu, and they have never once acted as if any of this is an inconvenience. They without a doubt have the best soups in Southampton. Their soup du jour is always vegetarian and gluten free, and their French Onion can be gluten free without the bread I believe.
We walked in on Valentine’s Day and were greeted warmly by the hostess and the bartender. The bartender who had not been there when Sean made the reservation had obviously taken the time to look at the reservation list because she knew we were coming. The hostess then presented me with a red rose and gave each of us their menu for the evening which was printed on pale pink paper. Looking up at the ceiling there were red, pink, and white balloons everywhere. This was not the place to come if you were trying to avoid Valentine’s Day, lucky for us it only made the evening more special. Being that it was crowded and they had clearly created a limited menu for the evening neither Sean or I even tried to order anything that wasn’t on there. Most nights they have a pre-fix available along with their a la carte menu, This particular evening they were just doing the pre-fix, however it had more options than their usual menu. I think they typically have four entrees available and this menu had eight. The pre-fix also included an appetizer and dessert. We both opted for the soup du jour, Vegetable Lentil which is one of my favorites, as our appetizer. For the entree Sean decided on the Smoked Pork Chop which he said was outstanding and I had the Steak and Pomme Frites which isn’t something I normally order from their but it really hit the spot. After dinner we were both too full for dessert so we decided to get it to go, this what we do almost every time we go there. No surprise I got the cheesecake and Sean got the crepes and they were just a delicious eating them at home on the couch as they are at the restaurant.
I really can not recommend this restaurant enough and I look forward to celebrating special occasions there for many years to come.