Michel’s Christiania Restaurant was opened around 1994 by Chef/Owner Michel Rudigoz. The French raised chef actually moved to Ketchum to coach a Sun Valley Ski team. He also coached Picabo Street the year she won her first Olympic Medal. His love of classic French cuisine is the basis of this restaurant. It is a large A-frame building with a good sized patio in the back. The interior also has a bar and upstairs party room. Tables were well distanced inside and out, covered with white clothes and set with black napkins. The patio was even nicer than the outside, to me, with a center fountain (no music in the background to compete with the sound of trickling water) and a large awning over the section adjacent to the building. Greenery surrounds the patio and a small wall separates diners from the street which was not that busy. Lighting under the awning was better than further out, but that matters most if you want to take photos. The menu features some local ingredients and also there were a couple nightly specials. Servers wore masks and were friendly but service did not live up to the standard the place wants to be – timing was variable and after placing our champagne in an ice bucket the server never refilled our glasses without being requested to do so.
Bread service was slices of sliced warm dense white bread in a basket with a couple packets of butter. The crust had a nice crispness but the bread seemed best for mopping up leftover sauces.
The La Crêpe aux Morilles was a crêpe wrapped around sautéed morels with more in a brandy cream poured on top. The crêpe was tender with some chew and stuffed with smaller pieces of morel and then topped with a couple large pieces. The sauce was the star here, rich and buttery. It was wonderful with the velvety crêpe and the tasty local morels. A bowl licker.
The salade de Laitue was made with Bib lettuce, Stilton and caramelized hazelnuts dressed with a tarragon vinaigrette. It was fairly heavily dressed. The sweet crunchy nuts added a lot to the flavor. The Stilton had a good strong flavor which overall made it quite tasty. It was a nice sized portion.
To go with our main plates we ordered a side of Pommes Frites which are housemade with Idaho potatoes. They came out first and were hot, well seasoned and crisp. It was plenty enough for 2 but there weren’t many left.
As a main course we both had the Filet de Truite Meuniere or sautéed filet of Idaho Ruby Trout with parsley, lemon and finished with a touch of butter. The fish was nicely cooked but the sides were forgettable. The green beans were large and hollow, the cous cous mostly tasteless and the tomato while pretty just okay. The fish did have flavor and was helped with a squeeze of lemon but could have used more butter sauce.
For dessert we split the Tarte Fine aux Pommes or warm apple tart served with ice cream. It was served room temperature and I think heating would have improved it. Some raspberries were added as color and decoration and a caramel sauce was underneath. The sauce was sweet and sticky but did not have a yum component. The apple slices were cooked to a perfect tender but the ice cream was mediocre. The pastry was good with buttery undertones but that would have been brought out much better with a little warming. It was good but could have been much better.