Laurent Gabrel, quintessential French restaurateur, is bringing a corner of Paris to northeast Seattle. He's already well-established in Madison Valley with Voilà! (and its baby brother, La Côte). Now there's Chloé Bistrot; named for his daughter, chestnut-dark walls and rich, deep-red upholstery, and a menu that would be at home in any Parisian neighborhood: onion soup, escargots, mussels, bouillabaisse, steak-frites, a brief but welcome nod toward Italy (crab ravioli), and that staple of French desserts, Café Liègeois.
The decor, in the space previously occupied by Enotria (and, before that, by Union Bay Cafe) is by francophile Pam Robinson, whose Red Ticking (vintage interior design) has long been a tastemaking influence in the tony households along Lake Washington. Blaise Bouchand of Bellevue's Maison de France sourced the fabrics (Collection Boussac from Pierre Frey). Hw also designed and custom-built the banquettes and entrance curtains. Robinson also found a battered, paint-spattered contractor's table at a construction site in France and installed it at the hostess stand, where it contrasts perfecctly with Chloé's polished wood tabletops But it's that cherry-red fabric, on the banquettes and in the thick drapes at the entrance, that bring Chloé to life.
Gabrel adds a final T to bistro, an optional spelling in France. What's on the plate, on the other hand, is true to tradition: onion soup rich with beef, moules frites fragrant with leeks and crunchy fries. It's authentic, no-frills French comfort food, served in the genuine atmosphere of a bistro de quartier, a Laurelhurst storefront transformed into a simple corner of Paris.