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Page history last edited by Mark P 15 years, 7 months ago

Jardiniere Review


I accidentally deleted the original summary paragraph I wrote the day after our experience at Jardiniere. As I'm writing this review, a month and a half after our original outing, I'll attempt to reconstruct a good sentence summarizing our experiences, but it won't necessarily express our immediate impressions following the meal.


Jardiniere served complex, novel, yet not particularly good, contemporary food in a sophisticated atmosphere.


S approved of the bread we got (a rare occurrence). Served warm, it was quite good though not perfect. It had just the right amount of crustiness: not enough to hurt one's tongue or teeth when biting. The bread worked well to soak up sauce we had later in the meal. Also, although we'd heard good things about Jardiniere's butter, we thought the butter was nothing special.


To start, we had a heirloom tomato, watermelon, and tarragon salad, topped with pancetta. While we appreciated the great quality tomatoes, the bacon, and the greens, we felt the salad was too salty. Oj liked the salt on the watermelons, but not even he liked it anywhere else. The ricotta and crostini were simply fine.


We also had scallops accompanied by delicate haricot verts, a tomato emulsion, and bacon nage. Given the price, we were disappointed there were only three scallops, especially because they were good. The pancetta underneath them was also good.


In addition, we ordered a petrale sole with chanterelle mushrooms, white corn, smoked bacon, red verjus (a type of vinegar), yellow cherry tomatoes, squash, and green beans. It smelled good and we liked the sauce. However, as a whole, the dish was only decent; the sole didn't have much flavor.


Roast suckling pig served as another entree, accompanied by shelling beans, cherry tomatoes, and sage jus. It was dry like pork loin often is. We decided this entree was the worst of the four. It came with a breaded sausage thing, easily the best item on the plate.


Our last entree was duck breast, served with mission figs, farro (a type of wheat), lucques olives, and pearl onions. We really liked the earl onions, but found the figs odd.


We decided to order the cheese plate. It came with walnut raisin bread and the following cheeses, which we noticed were presented in order by rind's hardness:

- Rocchetta (a combination of cow and goat milk): Sweet, soft, and sour; we liked it. Has a bloomy rind.

- Humboldt Fog: Tangy.

- Fenacho (semi-firm goat's milk cheese with fenugreek; this one came from Bend, Oregon): Kind of boring.

- Epoisses (washed rind cow's milk cheese; this one came from Burgundy, France): Our favorite cheese. It's not unlike brie.

- Stilton (blue veined cow's milk cheese; this one came from Colston Bassett Dairy in England): Very sharp. "It's a stilton."


For dessert, we tried the Bonne Bouche platter. Basically, it's a plate with lots of things: expresso creme brulee, lemon custard, opera cake (good stuff), petite tarts, cookies, meringue, fruit jellies (Ow likes), chocolate truffles and candies, chocolate balls rolled in sesame seeds, and some coconut thing. The platter had an interesting variety but wasn't particularly high quality on average.


Jardiniere's drink menuS are impressive. They have a tasting menu for every type of alcohol, plus a comprehensive wine list, a tea menu, a menu of dessert wines, and a cocktail menu. We had:

- A glass of Zeni Moscato Rosa wine (Trentino, Italy, 2005): Really good.

- A glass of CL Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast, California, 2005): Oj says it's a good, easy to drink, versatile wine. Has a fruity odor.

- Golden monkey tea ($8!). Fine.

- Coffee.


Jardiniere's a well designed, sultry, sexy, romantic place. Everything makes it feel sophisticated, from the railing on the mezzanine that looks like a steamer and the star-studded globe hanging from the ceiling to the pretty bar on the first floor and the nice volume of jazz background music.


Jardiniere provided good service. For instance, they moved our roll plates for us in order to place appetizers. Also, the waiter apologized for being unable to split entrees. (As I can't recall the last time someone apologized after we said we were going to share everything, we were surprised by the sentiment.) He even arranged to split the salad appetizer we ordered. As another example, rolls reappeared as needed.


Over dinner, we talked a bit about bathrooms and smoke alarms, among other topics.


I believe the total was around $61/person, including taxes and tip but not including drinks. (I accidentally deleted this information, so I'm guessing the number from memory.)


Original Announcement


This Wednesday at 8:00pm we'll celebrate our past and future trips at Jardiniere, a French restaurant in Hayes Valley. As this is our last outing for at least three weeks, we're going a bit more expensive than usual.



Comments from Other Attendees


Many of the items I previously heard recommended were not on the menu from which we ordered. At the end of the meal, I spotted many of these items on the lounge menu. If we were to return, we should order from it. Recommended items we didn't get to order: short ribs, scallops with truffles, and possibly the duck confit salad and the pork belly slides.



Note: a good number of people order (and generally like) the tasting menu.


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