chateau.jpg

Advocate staff photo by Ian McNulty - Chateau du Lac, the French bistro on Metairie Road, closed early in 2017.

The ranks of French restaurants around New Orleans have taken another hit, with the bistro Château du Lac closing its doors in Old Metairie (2037 Metairie Rd.).

The restaurant announced the news with a post on its Facebook page last night (Jan. 4), as nola.com reported first.

“(I)t is with heavy hearts that we regret to announce the closure of Chateau du Lac Bistro,” read the post, which was attributed to co-owner Paige Saleun. Reached this morning, Saleun would not comment on the news.

Saleun ran the restaurant with her husband, the chef Jacques Saleun. Jacques is a native of France who began a classical chef’s training in his home country when he was a teenager. He came to New Orleans in 2005.

The Saleuns opened their restaurant that year in an inauspicious location in a strip mall on Williams Boulevard in Kenner. Hurricane Katrina struck a few months later, though the restaurant escaped major flood damage.

In 2008, Château du Lac relocated to a more prominent address in Old Metairie, taking over a restaurant space that in the 1990s had been home to an earlier French bistro, Chez Daniel, from chef Daniel Bonnot.

The menu was not constrained to traditional dishes – Saleun made foie gras gumbo a specialty, for instance. But Château du Lac was always clearly and proudly French in its flavor and character. Bistro flavors were the calling card, with mainstays of escargot, steak frites, charcuterie and tarte tatin (here dubbed tarte Antoine). Inside, dining rooms trimmed in blue and yellow and decorated with wine art set the scene.

In 2014, the Saleuns expanded with a smaller restaurant on Fulton Street in the Warehouse District. A large construction project got underway not long after its debut, seriously reducing access to its side street address. This second restaurant closed the following year (Restaurant Rebirth later took over the space).

Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter, @IanMcNultyNOLA.