Sunday, September 26, 2010

Rue Saint Jacques: Date Night French Style

Saturday Date Night: September 25, 2010 @ 6:30 PM
(My apologies for the dark pictures. I do not use flash in restaurants as a courtesy to other diners.)

All I knew was Enrique and I  NEEDED a nice romantic dinner after a stressful week.  Being the date night planner in the relationship, I made my decision to try Rue Saint Jacques based on the 1000 Opentable points that they offer until 6:30 PM.

Left North Oakland at 5:55 PM, I thought we would not make it. We were able to cross the Bay  Bridge with no hint of traffic which was very rare on a beautiful hot Saturday in the Bay Area.  All I knew was Rue Saint Jacques is located on Nob Hill and that there will be no parking.

We made it at exactly 6:30 PM. I like what I saw as soon as we were able to identify the restaurant by its yellow awning.  Located on the corner of Jackson Street on top of the hill, the restaurant looked very quaint and charming.

While Enrique was looking for parking, I went to the restaurant to check-in.  To my dismay, they gave us a table in the back of the restaurant right by the entrance to the kitchen! The restaurant was half-empty and I asked for a better seating.  The hostess apologetically told me that the tables were reserved for a party of 10 that they were expecting.

I was fuming with disappointment but vowed to have a nice dinner in spite of.  I ordered a glass of champagne (Champagne Bernard $15/glass $80/bottle) and enjoyed the scenes of the restaurant while sipping it and waiting for Enrique. The champagne was crisp and dry  but I actually surprisingly enjoyed it.

The place was very cute, cozy and very Parisian.  The tables were mostly for intimate dining for 2 to 4 people.  The place was dark and lit with tea lights that it was hard to make out the decor.  You can see the passing cable car through the window that stops right in front of the restaurant.  It was like being in Paris in San Francisco!  It would have been a romantic dinner if I had not been facing the brick wall decorated with roosters!

Passing cable cars stop in front of Rue Saint Jacques
 Enrique was equally disappointed with our table after he came back from finding parking 4 blocks away. Despite the poor seating, we found ourselves being able to actually relax, catch up and have a nice dinner.  Our warm, crusty bread arrived right away along with the olive-garlic tapenade, aoili and butter as accompaniment.

Olive-garlic tapenade, aoili and butter
 For appetizer, we started off with the Catalan style Escargots, sautéed with garlic butter and served with cherry tomatoes, Catalan Chorizo, Harris Ranch smoked bacon $9.95 which came in a soup bowl. It was lighter than the tradionally served escargot drowning in butter. Our came in a delicious light broth with white wine sauce where we fished out at least 10 plump escargot meat, potatoes and chorizo  We dunked our warm crusty bread into the sauce after we finished all the escargot and cleaned out the bowl! Delicious!

 I ordered the Sautéed Pacific Northwest Day boat Scallops, presented on a Cauliflower Velouté with boudin blanc $24. Although I enjoyed my dish of 3 big plump tender scallops on rich white sauce, the flavors were not complex enough. It was just salty. My last scallop had that metallic taste to it that I questioned its freshness. The roasted figs added a little pizzazz to the dish.

 Enrique had   Blanquette of Veal, Humanely processed Veal from Québec, slowly cooked for a long time in a Calvados broth, served with mashed potatoes, mushrooms and sautéed Brussels sprouts $37. Not one to rave about his food, it is often hard to tell what he thinks about his meals.  I watched him devour this generously thick cut of bone-in veal, and his "desire" to clean out the bone which he did not despite my encouragement. He said the veal was tender but with hard parts to it but it was good.

 We were full and satisfied with our meal despite our initial disappointment.  The servers were very friendly and efficient that it dispelled the paranoia that we were put in the back of the bistro because we are Asian and Latino or maybe other not so nice reasons. An elegant-looking older couple were seated right next to us right by the bathroom. The only weird thing was the people who were seated at the tables I previously coveted did not seem to have anything to do with one another.  By the time we left after 2 leisurely hours of dining, the place was already packed.

Tab was $115 including a glass of champagne, Diet Coke, tax and 18% tip.

Rue Saint Jacques is as San Francisco as you can get if you want to experience "Paris of the West"--one of SF's nicknames.  I would love to go back but I have to be reassured a nice table first. Seating at the back table took away from what could have been a great dining experience.

- Rue Saint Jacques is a great place to take out of town guests to experience the "Most European of American Cities."
- A great romantic casual bistro.
- If I ever go back, I will not drive but will take the cable car that stops right in front of the restaurant.
- Printout the free champagne coupon on the restaurant's website. It would have saved me at least $12-$15 for a glass of wine!

Saturday Date Night continues........:
On our way back to the car parked four long blocks away, Enrique and I enjoyed the beautiful sights and sounds of San Francisco.  We admired the beautiful old-world architectures of affluent houses and apartments. From the top of the hill we looked down and saw the freeway lit up with car lights.  We passed by another neighborhood bistro that was very festive with diners.  We heard a group of merry-makers singing "Happy Birthday" from one of the apartments.  We found the car after climbing up 4 long uphill  blocks SF is known for.  It felt like we spent a couple of hours in Paris and also enjoyed a beautiful warm night in San Francisco.

One of the ornate apartments on Jackson Street

Cable car in front of our car

And the night did not end there. We had our ice cream at Fenton's in Oakland at past 10 at night. But that's for another review, followed by a silly but funny movie on DVD " Killers." Needless to say, we stretched out our Saturday Date Night until Sunday morning at 3 AM....A very fun weekend.

Ambiance: 4
Service: 4


0 Star: Never again!!! These people should not be in business.
1 Star: Chalk it to bad experience. Live and learn.
2 Stars: Very disappointing but there it has some good things to offer.
3 Stars: It is okay but do not expect much. I will still return.
4 Stars: I like it! I will be singing your praises!
5 Stars: I will be dreaming of you at night!
6 Stars: Perfection (or close to!)

Rue Saint Jacques on Urbanspoon

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...