A trend on the rise in the Edmonton region is the number of independent restaurants staking their claim in surrounding towns. Nineteen and Sorrentino’s are perhaps the best examples of this, choosing to open up additional locations in St. Albert, but they are among a multitude of others, including Farm to Fork in Sherwood Park and The Downtown Diner in Fort Saskatchewan. In some ways, in order for these establishments to thrive, they must draw upon potential customers outside the immediate community and become a destination in their own right. Chartier, a French Canadian restaurant that opened up in Beaumont back in March, is already working towards that status.
Chartier has the distinction of being the most successful restaurant Kickstarter project in Canada, having raised over $100,000 from nearly 600 backers. Many were taken with Darren and Sylvia Cheverie’s passion project to bring a French Canadian restaurant to their hometown. Chartier has captured the community support in the form of a map located on the back wall of the restaurant, charting out the names of friends and strangers alike that helped make the restaurant a reality.
Wall of supporters
It took us a while to make it down to Chartier, but a trio of family birthdays (my dad, mum, and I were all born in the month of June) seemed like a good reason to carpool to Beaumont to celebrate. On that Sunday night in June, the restaurant was not quite half full.
Although the building itself is brand new, they’ve done a great job with the interior. The wood beams and mismatched chairs contribute to a warm and cozy atmosphere, and I loved the rustic bar that anchors the open room. We were seated right by an open window that looked out onto the quiet street outside, reminding us again that we weren’t in Downtown Edmonton anymore.
The menu is focused but has enough variety to satisfy many tastes. We decided to try a couple of appetizer plates, which were large enough to be shared amongst a group. The poutine serving size was very generous, cheese curds and a tasty dark gravy ladled by a heavy hand. We were hoping the triple-fried potatoes would have been a tad crispier, however.
The pork torchon was a nice surprise. The bite-sized pork morsels were flavourful and complemented well by the black pepper jam (made with the chef’s secret recipe, we were told).
As for the mains, my beef bourguignon ($28) was so tender, a knife was unnecessary. The meat was delicious accompanied by the potato puree, though I probably could have done without the sweetness of the poached pear. My dish was also served with an adorably named “bread napkin”.
Felicia and my dad both ordered flank steak ($26). They had requested a medium rare preparation, and unfortunately, their steaks were further along the spectrum than they would have liked. Felicia did really enjoy the underlying potato pave.
Mack couldn’t pass up the roasted hen ($26) when he read that it was served with ratatouille and his favourite dressing: a fried egg. The chicken was well prepared, and served with charred brioche, it was reminiscent of a dish that could be served at brunch.
The meal was so rich we likely should have opted for lighter starters, as we couldn’t even think about dessert.
It is obvious that Chartier is a labour of love – from the kitchen’s brand of comfort food to the delicate china used for service – a lot of care and attention has been paid to the small things. That said – the trek required outside of the city may make it difficult for Chartier to garner the traffic it needs to be sustainable. To that effect, Chartier now offers brunch on the weekend (which can be more of a destination meal) and lunch on Fridays alongside a “bread window” from Wednesdays to Sundays to attract the local population.
Chartier’s already gained wide acclaim, along with the supportive foundation that helped build the restaurant. With a unique perspective to offer the Edmonton area food scene, I do hope Chartier can make the location work on a long-term basis.
5012 50 Street, Beaumont
Tuesday-Thursday 4pm-close, Friday 11am-close, Saturday-Sunday 10am-close, closed Monday