The room, awash in earth tones, wood and stone, stands out from its white-tablecloth, New-American brethren. Stylized scenes, shapes and materials taken from nature are cleverly incorporated into every surface and accessory. There's a terrarium built into the wall by the host stand. The ceiling above the clover of semicircular booths in the center of the room features tiny twinkling lights against a black background emulating the night sky. Upholstery is modern, but if you look closely you'll find a geometrical pattern of oblong leaves. By far my favorite touch is the basket-woven moose head mounted over the fireplace in the cozy bar area. From the light fixtures to the cutlery (the knives have flat handles perpendicular to the blade so it stands up straight when set down), you can tell that every detail was carefully considered.
The food is treated with equal care. The menu of creative and well-executed plates combines a variety of international flavors in interesting combinations that reflect the chef's classic French training. To start, the crispy Brie with prosciutto ($11) was almost too striking to eat. The lightly breaded and fried golden wedge of brie sitting in a pool of tomato coulis outlined by a ring of bright green basil oil, topped with prosciutto fried to a bacon level of crispiness was irresistible. The soup du jour was creamy tomato with basil sprinkled with Gorgonzola crumbles that melted in adding a nice sharpness and making it doubly rich.
The menu has a nice selection of large salads ($15-$17) such as grilled asparagus salad with grilled wild jumbo gulf prawns and roasted beet and fingerling potato salad with dill lox for a lighter meal. Entrees ($17-$26) include some enticing options like Cajun gnocchi with smoked mussels and andouille sausage and New York steak Bordelaise with a red wine shallot reduction, fingerling potatoes Lyonnaise and crispy leeks.
Needless to say, the decision was difficult. I went with pan-roasted breast of duckling topped with a green peppercorn-Merlot reduction, served with saffron risotto and sautéed julienned squash. The sauce was a little on the sweet side for my palate, but the execution was flawless. The meat was cooked to a perfect medium rare with crispy skin, and the peppercorn countered the sweetness in the reduction nicely. The risotto was simple, but provided appropriate respite from the strength of the sauce. I even ate the squash, the stepchild of vegetables that I almost always ignore. My companion ordered the peppered ahi tuna topped with black tobiko (roe), drizzled with spicy aioli and served on a stir-fry of buckwheat noodles, red onion, bell pepper and broccolini. The fish was beautiful, the pepper crust powerful and the noodles flavorful. A trifecta.
The wine list was impressive in its thoughtful selection, though few if any bottles were under $35. Desserts were continental standards. We ordered the coconut flan ($6), as it is Chloe's signature dessert-and for good reason. The flavor was excellent, and the consistency was rich and creamy rather than gelatinous like flan can often be. After only a few months in Sisters, Chloe seems to have found its home and hit its stride, and I imagine it will only get better from here.
Chloe at FivePine
1011 Desperado Trail (in the FivePine complex), Sisters, 588-6151. Tues.-Sat., Lunch 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; dinner 5-9 p.m.