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Page history last edited by Mark P 10 years, 3 months ago

Elite Cafe Review


The Elite Cafe served us generally good Cajun/Creole/Southern home cooking, but nothing wowed us and the desserts were definitely sub-par. Also, the waitress (Sarah) was great: courteous, entertaining, frank, and generous.


Upon arriving we were seated in a cozy booth enclosed with high-backed wood walls. The old-school booth had a buzzer, once meant to notify the desk that we wanted service, which (our waitress warned us) no longer functions. Due to the noise from the center of the restaurant, despite the shape of the booth, it was still sometimes difficult to hear across the table.


Elite Cafe is famous for its ("meetinghouse") biscuits; the chef took her recipe with her from another restaurant and used their legendary status to help start this one. We found the biscuits very good, a bit more crumbly and flaky than traditional biscuits.


Decent deviled eggs served as our other appetizer. The filling had a nice bit of spice to it (paprika) but two of us found it too rich and removed some before eating the rest with the egg.


As for the larger dishes, one item we tried was the jambalaya. It was very good: a spicy mixture the consistency of risotto with rice, shrimp, duck, and some tremendously awesome sausage.


The seafood gumbo was decent. Served as a soup crowded with seafood and rice, it had similar flavors as the jambalaya but wasn't as good, probably because the spices were milder and it lacked the sausage. A cute fact: the gumbo was served with a minuscule (less than two inches tall) bottle of tobasco sauce. Admittedly, if we used the tobasco sauce we might have recovered a bit more of the spiciness.


The vegetarian among us had the asparagus bisque, which we all tried and it met our approval: a nice creamy texture but not too rich.


We had a side dish; after much debate, a suggestion from our waitress helped tip the balance in flavor of the creamed corn. Perfectly respectable, it had the unique feature of that the kernels still had some crispness to them; they were distinct, and biting them generated a slight pop.


Still hungry, we ordered another dish. It took a while to arrive because it was accidentally delivered to the table next to us, who ate it without realizing they didn't order it. These johnnycakes, in effect shrimp cake a la crab cakes, were okay. Not bad, each cake was a somewhat mushy pile of shrimp with a few onions in a cornmeal batter. Despite being served with tomato slices and drizzled with lime cream -both meant to jazz them up-, there wasn't much flavor to the dish (aside from biting a shrimp directly).


Finally, we ordered a molten chocolate cake torte with raspberry in phyllo dough as our dessert. While it looked cool baked into a triangular slice of crispy pastry, it was disappointing; something about the raspberry flavor didn't go well with the melted chocolate inside, nor did it go well with the chocolate cake inside.


At the same time we were also given, complementarily, another disappointing dessert. (Probably the waitress felt bad because of the johnnycake incident and didn't want us to be hungry.) This one was a dish of fruit--I already forget what kind--and juice with ice cream that was still so solid it was impossible to cut with a spoon. In short, it felt like a partially melted cobbler served a la mode.


The house makes its own ginger ale, a fact confirmed by the little flecks of ginger in the drink. It's worth ordering.


Original Announcement


This Wednesday at 8:00pm we'll head to Elite Cafe for some cajun and creole cooking.



Please tell me if you are coming! The restaurant is in the Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco. We'll figure out how we're getting there depending on who is coming.


Comments from Other Attendees


From my research, the "non-traditional bbq shrimp" was highly recommended. The waitress also endorsed it, and suggested that it has sauce that is good for dipping biscuits in.


Reviews also came out mildly in favor of the encrusted fish, crab cakes, corn bread, and fritters. The former was also recommended by our waitress. (Aside from these two recommendations, everything else the waitress recommended we had already decided to order.)


The Elite Cafe is also famous for its brunch. I didn't look for recommendations for dishes that are only served at brunch.


Elite Cafe was reviewed on Check Please Bay Area years after I visited.  The original proposer of the restaurant said her must-have dish was the California gumbo.  The other reviews liked in particular the fried okra, the mussel appetizer, the California jambalaya, and to-some-extent the beignets.  In addition to an excellent wine list, one man said the cocktails were prepared excellently.


Feel free to add remarks here.

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