My favorite restaurant discovery in the U.S. Virgin Islands is Herve Chassin's French Restaurant and Wine Bar, a homey, upscale, family-owned, Government Hill attraction with panoramic views of the Charlotte Amalie Harbor. Herve's has an exquisite entrée selection. The best romantic spot in the former residence is the corner table with wrap around open-air windows bringing in the scent of trade wind blown jasmine and heliconias.

Herve's is built on the foundations of a house from the early 1800s, and is open for lunch and dinner. Herve started his 25 years of culinary expertise as a teenage apprentice at the famous Hotel du Cap d'Antibes, France. On St. Thomas, Herve was a partner at L'Escargot In Town, and general manager of the Hotel 1829, within cannon ball shot of his present airy establishment. Most recently Herve was general manager of Agave Terrace at Point Pleasant in the USVI, before creating his own restaurant ambiance with quality food, combined with great service at moderate prices and in a comfortable setting. Opened in 1996, Herve has enjoyed glowing write-ups in Gourmet and the New York Times.

I picked Herve's local yellowtail snapper with Caesar salad and conch fritters, then white chocolate and pecans for dessert. A shot of cognac topped off the pleasant evening with a couple of writer hacks from other sailing magazines. Other choices included Smoked Oysters. or something as exotic as Smoked Quail appetizer, or Venison as an entrée.

Our dinner hostess, Louise, had Escargot Provençal with Roasted Garlic Butter for an appetizer, and Roger, from Soundings sailing magazine, had the Lobstertail Bouillabaisse, with Rob, from Sail magazine, taking the Smoked Quail.

1. Country Style Pâté w/ Pickled Corn
2. Conch Fritters w/ Mango Chutney
3. Escargot Provençal w/ Roasted Garlic Butter
4. Tender Bay Scallops w/ Roasted Garlic Lemon Butter
5. Shrimp in a Stuffed Crab Shell w/ Sweet & Tangy Plum Sauce
6. Scottish Smoked Salmon, sliced, served w/ Sour Cream, Chives & Capers
7. Pistachio Crusted Brie w/ Strawberry Pink Peppercorn Beurré Rouge
8. Warm Smoked Quail on Baby Mixed Greens drizzled w/ Lingonberry Vinaigrette
9.
Spinach and Veggies en Crouté
1. Caesar Salad w/ Red & Yellow Currant Tomatoes

2. Spinach & Romaine w/Raspberry Roasted Almond Vinaigrette, sprinkled w/Roquefort
Herve Chassin - Proprietor
Government Hill - St. Thomas
Reservations - 777-9703

There are over 20 entrées on Herve's ample menu:

1. Lobster and Coquille St. Jacques - Lobster w/baby scallops in a Seasoned Beurré Blanc w/Shallots, Chives, White Peppercorns & Sweet Vermouth

2. Pan Seared Norwegian Salmon w/Compôte of Tomato Capers, Grilled Eggplant, Dill

3. Black Sesame Crusted Tuna w/Ginger Raspberry Sauce - Herve suggests medium rare

4. Red Snapper coated with Creole Spice topped with Mango Salsa

5. Tournedos of Beef and Salmon served w/Crab, Tomato & fresh Tarragon Sauce

6. Caribbean Lobstertail - Broiled w/ Drawn Butter

7. Caribbean Lobster Medallions - Flambéed w/ Armagnac, w/fresh herbs, tomato & Port Wine Sauce

8. Veal Roulade filled w/ Prosciutto & Fresh Sage Stuffing, draped w/ Marcela Sauce

9. Grilled Lamb Chops stuffed w/Spinach, Montrachet & Pine Nuts on Chilled Pear Pureé

10. Grilled New York Strip Steak w/Port Wine Chanterelle, Mushroom Butter

11. Fresh Herb Crusted Chicken Breast w/Roasted Potatoes & Orange Natural Jus

12. Roasted Duck Breast w/Ginger & Tamarind Sauce

1. Sautéed Shrimp Scallops & Mussels w/tomato, basil & garlic, w/Fettuccine

2. Filet Mignon Tenderloin stuffed w/ Blue Cheese, w/Port Wine Sauce

3. Venison Coated w/ Winter Spice w/Grand Marnier Sauce

Cheese Cake, Key Lime Pie, Fresh Berries, Chocolate Cups, Rich Crème Caramel and other sweet treats

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