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Chez Peres

Al Parker - August 9th, 2010
Chez Peres offers French comfort food
By Al Parker
French cuisine often conjures up images of white linen tables, a pretentious maitre d and entrees smothered in thick, creamy, calorie-laden sauces.
Kick those concepts to the Lake Avenue curb when you visit Traverse City’s newest French bistro, Chez Peres.
“Our food is elegant, but very much down to Earth,” says chef Keil Moshier.
“It’s really French comfort food,” adds chef Eric Fritch, a New Jersey native, who, along with his wife Amy, opened Patisserie Ami in 2005 in a tiny space on the east end of Front Street. Serving mainly brunch items and pastries, the place soon built a solid reputation among the foodie community.
Working with Moshier, they began hosting Bistro Nights, serving traditional French dinner entrees. In the spring of 2008 they moved Patisserie Ami to Lake Avenue where it more than quadrupled the seating to 54.
And as of May 1, under the name Chez Peres or “House of Fathers,” (both are proud Papas) Fritch and Moshier have been offering a glittering assortment of dinners to their growing legion of customers.
They also acquired a liquor license and now offer an interesting assortment of wines and beers. “Things are going really well,” says Fritch. “We had a surprisingly great Cherry Festival.”

So what’s most popular on the menu?
“Our escargot has really taken off,” notes Moshier, who grew up in Kalamazoo and has more than 20 years of restaurant experience.
“Daytime, nighttime, it’s escargot.”
Served with garlic and parsley butter, the Escargot ($6.75) is one of eight hors d’oeuvres offered at Chez Peres. Others include Pulled Pork Confit with tasty, crisp cornichons ($6.50), Pate de Foie of truffled chicken livers on toast points ($6.95) and house-cured Scottish Salmon ($6.50). Vegetarians will want to sample their Ratatouille, featuring Provencal vegetables and served with couscous ($6.25).
Seafood appetizers, or “Fruits Der Mer,” include a half-dozen raw oysters or mussels in cream ($8 each), prawns or calamari ($7.25 each) and scallops ($7.50).
Chez Peres offers four salads, including a seldom-seen Saucisson Sec, a cured sausage confit with bibb lettuce ($5.25).
Beef entrees include a New York Strip with pommes frites ($19) Rib-eye with béarnaise sauce ($22) and Tournedoes de Boeuf with foie gras ($23). A hefty Farmer’s Pork Chop and Macaroni ($19) and a Roasted Half-Chicken ($18) with pommes puree round out the “plats principaux.”
“The popularity of our dinner entrees is pretty balanced,” says Fritch. “We want to be as close to a Parisian bistro as possible.”
Seafood lovers may opt for the Choucroute de la Mer with salmon, mussels and shrimp ($19) the Grilled Ahi Tuna ($19) or Seafood stew featuring fresh pasta ($18).
For couples, there are five different “plats pour deux” including Chateubriand, a beef filet ($54), Roast Rack of Pork ($44) or a whole Roasted Amish Chicken ($40). The meals for two require 24-hour advance orders.
And Patisserie Ami fans will be happy to know that Fritch’s wide assortment of palate-pleasing pastries are still available for breakfast, lunch or dinner desserts.

The relaxing atmosphere of Chez Peres is exquisitely complementary to the comfort food cuisine. The walls, donned in a muted blue with dark chocolate accents, feature classical French scenes, including prints of the Palais de Glace and Theatre de L’Opera. A detailed vintage map of France adds to the Gallic charm of the bistro. Sprigs of fresh flowers brighten each sturdy wooden table.
For those who prefer dining al fresco, there are a dozen or so seats outside at wrought-iron tables under the shade of a brown-and-white striped awning.
“We’re building a real good base (of customers),” says the affable Fritch with a smile. “There’s a real appreciation for this classic bistro food. We want to be here for the long haul, for at least the next 20 years.”

Chez Peres Café, at 237 Lake Avenue in Traverse City, is open Tuesday-Saturday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., 9 to 3 p.m. on Sunday. For more information or takeout orders, call (231) 922-9645.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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