Chandler’s Landing Yacht Club, Rockwall TX
For our date night last weekend, Tom and I decided to try out a restaurant we’d never gotten around to visiting: Allure. The photos on the web site (and there are a lot of them) were certainly alluring: a killer view that looks out over the marina and the widest part of Lake Ray Hubbard. The online menu was just as enticing, listing such yummies as Chilean sea bass, Stuffed Portobello, and like any self-respecting Texas eating establishment, plenty of beef (including a fried rib-eye and a meatloaf made from choice Angus cuts).
We were looking forward to a beautiful sunset over the lake, but it didn’t quite work out that way, as you can see in the wet and rather gloomy photo above. We originally made reservations for Friday evening, but Tom had a full slate of meetings that went late, so I changed them to Saturday. As luck would have it, Friday was a gorgeous day and Saturday was … not. Forecast was rain all day, with the chances increasing to 80 percent at the time of our reservations (of course).
Sure enough, it was raining when we got to Rockwall. The first challenge was finding the place. The directions advised that we go down Henry Chandler Drive, not Yacht Club Drive, but that was as far as it went. Our GPS took us all the way down HCD to the lake, then through a parking lot full of boats and down a tiny road right on the lake shore. It got us to the front of the restaurant – but there was no place to park there, and no way to get back behind the restaurant where the valet parking is. On a nice day, we could have parked back there where the boats were and walked, but this was not a nice day.
We drove around for a while, Tom got terribly frustrated, and I called the restaurant for directions – twice (the first time, the girl misunderstood where we were and was directing us as if we were somewhere else. Oh, you mean that guard shack). Finally we found it, and pulled up to the valet parking sign, but there was no valet there. I went in and told them of our dilemma and someone rushed right out to take our keys. Things got considerably better from that point on.
We were led through a nice entry to a spacious, open room where almost all the tables were empty (we had come at 5:00 pm; Tom likes to eat early). The hostess led us to a table for two right on the window, so we had a great view, even if it was a rainy one.
It was St. Patrick’s Day weekend, so Tom celebrated that with an “Irish Flag,” an interesting-looking green layered drink, and I deviated from the theme and did my celebrating with a chocolate martini, which was a little strong for my taste, but it certainly was pretty.
We perused the menu and then ordered calamari and shrimp poppers for appetizers. They came out quickly enough and were good. Tom also got a bowl of gumbo. He finished off both the poppers and the soup, so they must have tasted fine. I ate most of my calamari.
Something that did strike me as odd (especially at a place specializing in steaks) was that we didn’t get any bread. That was a good thing, as far as my calorie count was concerned, but it did seem unusual.
While we were eating, a flock of pelicans and cormorants lit on the lake and started doing their “leap frog” movement across the water, which is always fun to watch.
Our entrees arrived shortly, and they were very good. Tom got the grilled chicken mac and cheese, described in the menu as “Grilled chicken, bacon and spinach in a creamy cheddar sauce topped with panko bread crumbs then baked to perfection.” I ordered Caribbean style mahi-mahi, topped with pineapples and other assorted fruits and a risotto. We also had what turned out to be a huge plate of sweet potato fries.
It was all great, although I had to get a take-home box for half of the fish and about 3/4 of the fries. The dogs didn’t mind that at all; when we got home, Rolly and Suki each ate several fries – and probably would have eaten them all if I had let them – and Beauty finished off the fish for me. Yes, my dogs are spoiled.
Then it was time for dessert. I shouldn’t have, but I was curious. The menu says:
Try the bread pudding … seriously, try it.
Apparently it’s a long-time family recipe of some sort, and the bourbon sauce (even though I don’t like bourbon at all) sounded oddly appealing. I ordered that and Tom ordered the crème brulee.
The pudding itself was really heavy. To be fair, I’m not a big bread pudding fan and ordered it because I wanted to try the sauce, which was wonderful with the vanilla ice cream that comes with it. I left most of the pudding on the plate. Tom’s dessert was a bit more petite (although pretty generous compared to many crème brulees I’ve seen) and he scarfed it all down.
Throughout dinner, we thoroughly enjoyed watching the rain and the wildlife on the water. Service was great; our water glasses and coffee cups were refilled regularly without asking and our waitress was friendly and didn’t hover. The atmosphere is nice, casually upscale, and the place began to fill up as time went by. Prices are comparable to Culpepper’s; our tab totaled around $100.
This date night was definitely a success, despite its less-than-ideal beginning. Allure is a dining experience that’s well worth getting lost and rained on. We want to go back again, soon, to see that sunset.
Tip: If you’re trying to find your way to Allure, that’s it, in the yellow circle. But you want to be where the red “A” is, not where the green “B” is (which is where our GPS took us). Here are the full directions: From I-30 going east, exit onto Ridge Road and turn right (south). Go past Yacht Club and turn right on Henry Chandler Drive. Almost immediately, turn right and stop at the guard house. Tell them you’re going to Allure. Turn left onto Yacht Club Drive. Stay on it and after you pass HarborView Drive, turn left onto … another Yacht Club Drive (that’s right – you turn off of YCD onto YCD … confusing, much?). Take this smaller YCD down to Constellation Circle and you’ll be in front of the restaurant where you’ll see the valet parking sign.